Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published in Precision Agriculture; online 20 December 2019.

DOI: 10.1007/s11119-019-09701-6


Copyright © 2019 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Used by permission.


Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for collecting multispectral imagery of agricultural fields are becoming more affordable and accessible. However, there is need to validate calibration of sensors on these systems when using them for quantitative analyses such as evapotranspiration, and other modeling for agricultural applications. The results of laboratory testing of a MicaSense (Seattle, WA, USA) RedEdge™ 3 multispectral camera and MicaSense Downwelling Light Sensor (irradiance sensor) system using a calibrated integrating sphere were presented. Responses of the camera and irradiance sensor were linear over many light levels and became non-linear at light levels below expected real-world, field conditions. Simple linear corrections should suffice for most light conditions encountered during the growing season. Using an irradiance sensor or similar system may not properly account for light variability in cloudy or partly cloudy conditions as also identified by others. A simple stand for aiding in reference panel imagining was also described, which may facilitate repetitive, consistent reference panel imaging.