PolarBRDF: A general purpose Python package for visualization and quantitative...

Singh, M. K., R. Gautam, C. Gatebe, and R. Poudyal (2016), PolarBRDF: A general purpose Python package for visualization and quantitative analysis of multi-angular remote sensing measurements, Computers & Geosciences, 96, 173-180, doi:10.1016/j.cageo.2016.08.015.

The Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) is a fundamental concept for characterizing the reflectance property of a surface, and helps in the analysis of remote sensing data from satellite, airborne and surface platforms. Multi-angular remote sensing measurements are required for the development and evaluation of BRDF models for improved characterization of surface properties. However, multi-angular data and the associated BRDF models are typically multidimensional involving multi-angular and multi-wavelength information. Effective visualization of such complex multidimensional measurements for different wavelength combinations is presently somewhat lacking in the literature, and could serve as a potentially useful research and teaching tool in aiding both interpretation and analysis of BRDF measurements. This article describes a newly developed software package in Python (PolarBRDF) to help visualize and analyze multi-angular data in polar and False Color Composite (FCC) forms. PolarBRDF also includes functionalities for computing important multi-angular reflectance/albedo parameters including spectral albedo, principal plane reflectance and spectral reflectance slope. Application of PolarBRDF is demonstrated using various case studies obtained from airborne multi-angular remote sensing measurements using NASA's Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR). Our visualization program also provides functionalities for untangling complex surface/atmosphere features embedded in pixel-based remote sensing measurements, such as the FCC imagery generation of BRDF measurements of grasslands in the presence of wildfire smoke and clouds. Furthermore, PolarBRDF also provides quantitative information of the angular distribution of scattered surface/atmosphere radiation, in the form of relevant BRDF variables such as sunglint, hotspot and scattering statistics.

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)