The analysis of airborne hyperspectral data is often affected by brightness gradients that are caused by directional surface reflectance. For line scanners these gradients occur in across-track direction and depend on the sensor’s view-angle. They are greatest whenever the flight path is perpendicular to the sun–target–observer plane. A common way to correct these gradients is to normalize the reflectance factors to nadir view. This is especially complicated for data from spatially and spectrally heterogeneous urban areas and requires surface type specific models. This paper presents a class-wise empirical approach that is adapted to meet the needs of such images.
Within this class-wise approach, empirical models are fit to the brightness gradients of spectrally pure pixels from classes after a spectral angle mapping (SAM). Compensation factors resulting from these models are then assigned to all pixels of the image, both in a discrete manner according the SAM and in a weighted manner based on information from the SAM rule images. The latter scheme is designed in consideration of the great number of mixed pixels.
The method is tested on data from the Hyperspectral Mapper (HyMap) that was acquired over Berlin, Germany. It proves superior to a common global approach based on a thorough assessment using a second HyMap image as reference. The weighted assignment of compensation factors is adequate for the correction of areas that are characterized by mixed pixels.
A remainder of the original brightness gradient cannot be found in the corrected image, which can then be used for any subsequent qualitative and quantitative analyses. Thus, the proposed method enables the comparison and composition of airborne data sets with similar recording conditions and does not require additional field or laboratory measurements.