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Radiometric Resolution

  • By: Eric B. Wolf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Radiometric resolution is the radio-frequency sensitivity of a remote sensing platform. Usually captured from airplanes and space-based satellites, remotely sensed data provide a uniform view of geographic space. This view of Earth can extend beyond the visible range of wavelengths.

Remote sensors have four resolutions: spatial, temporal, spectral, and radiometric. Commonly referred to as the pixel bit depth of a sensor, radiometric resolution is the sensitivity to reflected radiation across the spectral resolution of the sensor. Consumer digital cameras, for instance, detect visible spectrum light using a CCD or CMOS sensor with 8 bits of radiometric resolution for red, green, and blue bands. This translates to 256 possible shades of each color band for an aggregate 24 bits of radiometric resolution, resulting in more than 16 ...

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