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Imaging Spectrometry, Hyperspectral Imaging, Imaging Spectroscopy, Ultraspectral Imaging

Imaging spectroscopy has many names in the remote sensing community, including imaging spectrometry, hyperspectral, and ultraspectral imaging. Spectroscopy is the study of electromagnetic radiation. Spectrometry is derived from spectro-photometry, the measure of photons as a function of wavelength, a term used for years in astronomy. However, spectrometry is becoming a term used to indicate the measurement of non-light quantities, such as in mass spectrometry (e.g. Ball, 1995). Hyper means excessive, but no imaging spectrometer in use can hardly be considered hyper-spectral, after all, a couple of hundred channels pales in comparison to truly high resolution spectrometer with millions of channels. Ultraspectral is beyond hyperspectral, a lofty goal that has not yet been reached. Terms like laboratory spectrometer, spectroscopist, reflectance spectroscopy, thermal emission spectroscopy, etc, are in common use. One rarely, if ever sees the converse: spectrometrist, reflectance spectrometry, etc. So it seems prudent to keep the terminology consistent with "imaging spectroscopy."

Ball, D.W., 1995, Defining Terms, Spectroscopy, 10, 16-18.

The above from:

icon Spectroscopy and Principles of Spectroscopy

icon Researchers at the USGS Spectroscopy Lab are studying and applying methods for identifying and mapping materials through spectroscopic remote sensing (called imaging spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging, imaging spectrometry, ultraspectral imaging, etc), on the earth and throughout the solar system using laboratory, airborne and spacecraft spectrometers.

The image shown here is a mineral map, where each color is the identification of specific minerals through imaging spectroscopy analysis. See Material Maps and Spectral Libraries

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Last modified Dec. 13, 1999.