Philosophical Society of Washington

Hyperspectral Imaging

Lee J. Rickard
Naval Research Laboratory

2071st Meeting Abstract
Friday, March 07, 1997 at 8:15 PM


Over the past 25 years, Landsat-style (“multispectral”) remote sensing has gone from being a research activity to a mainstay of international commerce and an important contributor to military preparation for actions in peace and war. That same kind of transition is now beginning with “hyperspectral” imaging (HSI). This technology combines every element of a picture with a fully sampled spectrum.

Extensive research has shown that HSI can contribute to most aspects of earth system science. Mr. Rickard supports that claim with examples mostly from coastal oceanography (although his own original experience with the technique was in astronomy).

He will also discuss some of the difficulties of making HSI an everyday tool, which involve mostly methods for navigating large volumes of data and finding the truly useful information. Finally, he will reflect on some of the aspects of how developing the scientific uses of HSI contrasts (but not necessarily conflicts with) the development of its military uses.

About the Author:

Lee J. Rickard is Head of the Radio/IR/Optical Sensors Branch of the Remote Sensing Division in the Naval Research Laboratory. He received a B.S. in physics from the University of Miami in 1969, and a Ph. D. in astronomy and astrophysics from The University of Chicago in 1975. Before moving to NRL, he was first at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and then in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Howard University. He has done research on galactic and extragalactic regions of star formation, but is currently working mostly on a project to understand the physical forcing of optical phenomena in coastal waters.

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