Biological Systems Engineering, Department of



Jian Zhang

Document Type


Date of this Version



Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1054


© 2017 by the authors.

Open access



Consumer-grade cameras are being increasingly used for remote sensing applications in recent years. However, the performance of this type of cameras has not been systematically tested and well documented in the literature. The objective of this research was to evaluate the performance of original and resolution-reduced images taken from two consumer-grade cameras, a RGB camera and a modified near-infrared (NIR) camera, for crop identification and leaf area index (LAI) estimation. Airborne RGB and NIR images taken over a 6.5-square-km cropping area were mosaicked and aligned to create a four-band mosaic with a spatial resolution of 0.4 m. The spatial resolution of the mosaic was then reduced to 1, 2, 4, 10, 15 and 30 m for comparison. Six supervised classifiers were applied to the RGB images and the four-band images for crop identification, and 10 vegetation indices (VIs) derived from the images were related to ground-measured LAI. Accuracy assessment showed that maximum likelihood applied to the 0.4-m images achieved an overall accuracy of 83.3% for the RGB image and 90.4% for the four-band image. Regression analysis showed that the 10 VIs explained 58.7% to 83.1% of the variability in LAI. Moreover, spatial resolutions at 0.4, 1, 2 and 4 m achieved better classification results for both crop identification and LAI prediction than the coarser spatial resolutions at 10, 15 and 30 m. The results from this study indicate that imagery from consumer-grade cameras can be a useful data source for crop identification and canopy cover estimation.