Precision Agriculture

, 12:795

Spectral requirements on airborne hyperspectral remote sensing data for wheat disease detection


DOI: 10.1007/s11119-011-9222-9

Cite this article as:
Mewes, T., Franke, J. & Menz, G. Precision Agric (2011) 12: 795. doi:10.1007/s11119-011-9222-9


Remote sensing approaches are of increasing importance for agricultural applications, particularly for the support of selective agricultural measures that increase the productivity of crop stands. In contrast to multi-spectral image data, hyperspectral data has been shown to be highly suitable for the detection of crop growth anomalies, since they allow a detailed examination of stress-dependent changes in certain spectral ranges. However, the entire spectrum covered by hyperspectral data is probably not needed for discrimination between healthy and stressed plants. To define an optimal sensor-based system or a data product designed for crop stress detection, it is necessary to know which spectral wavelengths are significantly affected by stress factors and which spectral resolution is needed. In this study, a single airborne hyperspectral HyMap dataset was analyzed for its potential to detect plant stress symptoms in wheat stands induced by a pathogen infection. The Bhattacharyya distance (BD) with a forward feature search strategy was used to select relevant bands for the differentiation between healthy and fungal infected stands. Two classification algorithms, i.e. spectral angle mapper (SAM) and support vector machines (SVM) were used to classify the data covering an experimental field. Thus, the original dataset as well as datasets reduced to several band combinations as selected by the feature selection approach were classified. To analyze the influence of the spectral resolution on the detection accuracy, the original dataset was additionally stepwise spectrally resampled and a feature selection was carried out on each step. It is demonstrated that just a few phenomenon-specific spectral features are sufficient to detect wheat stands infected with powdery mildew. With original spectral resolution of HyMap, the highest classification accuracy could be obtained by using only 13 spectral bands with a Kappa coefficient of 0.59 in comparison to Kappa 0.57 using all spectral bands of the HyMap sensor. The results demonstrate that even a few hyperspectral bands as well as bands with lower spectral resolution still allow an adequate detection of fungal infections in wheat. By focusing on a few relevant bands, the detection accuracy could be enhanced and thus more reliable information could be extracted which may be helpful in agricultural practice.


Feature selection Bhattacharyya distance Crop stress Data reduction Hyperspectral data Spectral angle mapper Spectral resolution Support vector machines 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (ZFL)University of BonnBonnGermany
  2. 2.RSS—Remote Sensing Solutions GmbHMünchenGermany
  3. 3.Remote Sensing Research Group (RSRG), Department of GeographyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany