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HyperSpectral Imaging
Hyperspectral Camera
Airborne Spectral Imager
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Hyperspectral Imaging

NOTE: This page is currently being revised. (May 2005). The information on this page is therefore not fully up-to-date.

Research and Development Projects

Norsk Elektro Optikk AS (NEO) has several ongoing research projects in the field of hyperspectral imaging. NEO co-operates with research institutions within agriculture, food safety, forestry and the military, - research fields that all benefit from the use of hyperspectral data. Below are listed some of the most important application areas.

Applications in Agriculture

Agricultural Research Field
(Image acquired in co-operation with Planteforsk/The Norwegian Crop Research Institute.)

Possible use within agriculture is for applications where one wants to optimise the use of fertilisers and pesticides, an area where both too little and too much will be harmful either to the crops or to the environment.


Forest Hyperspectral imaging is an important tool for monitoring the health condition of forests and will in the near future help the industry finding areas with damages due to beetles, fungi, too little or to much water. In addition it is possible to discriminate between different species, let us say birch and spruce. See the image examples below:

Forest, spruce, dead trees

The image above left shows a normal color image of a group of trees, but artificial colors i.e., strong green have been put on areas that contain chlorophyll according to the IR image data. The wavelength area around 700 nm in the near IR has been investigated and the chlorophyll red shift, a significant increase in the reflectivity around 700 nm, has been used to pinpoint areas of the image that contains chlorophyll. You can easily see the dead trees not containing chlorophyll (upper left of left image). The right image shows a group of dead trees in a relatively humid area.

Forest, spruce vs. birch

The left image above contains data from the infra red and has been optimised to discriminate between coniferous and deciduous. You can easily see the difference between the spruce in the middle and the surrounding birches. The right image illustrates that it is not always easy to discriminate between spruce and birch using RGB colors.

Environmental Monitoring, Algae

Monitoring the seawaters and lakes with regards to algae could be useful for sea farms as well as for environmental protection agencies. Algae will in many cases be clearly visible for the human eye, but a quantitative registration requires tools like NEO's airborne spectral imager (ASI). Below are shown some image samples taken with a standard digital camera.

Saltwater, algae

Algae in seawater from the south coast of Norway.

Lake Vansjø, algae
Lake Vansjø, algae

Two images from a lake in the south-eastern part of Norway, Vansjø. The upper is taken in June 2004 and the bottom picture is taken by the end of September. To go for a swim here is not our first thought. Images from the NEO Airborne Spectral Imager can be seen below.

We made a survey of lake Vansjø in the second half of June 2004 to monitor the algae situation.

Lake Vansjø, algae

This picture shows a part of Årvoldtangen in Vansjø taken with the NEO Airborne Spectral Imager. The image is a normal RGB image. As can clearly be seen the water is green due to the high algae concentration. Aeroplane movements give a varying field of view. After geo-rectification based on GPS and gyro data the image will look somewhat "wavy" in the outer edges.

Lake Vansjø, algae classified (red)

This image shows the same area of Årvoldtangen in Vansjø, but in this figure the infra red information has been taken into account and the areas containing algae have been classified and been given the color red. This example is not the most impressing proof of the performance of the instrument since the algae is clearly visible, but the ASI system is the only tool that could give a systematic registration of the condition and the future development.

Environmental Monitoring, Pollution

It is possible to monitor oil spills and it could also be possible to classify the oil type and to blame the correct sinner. Based on oil type it could be possible to trace the oil back to its origin and to find the ship that caused the oil spill.


The left image above shows an RGB image of a set of oil samples from oil fields in the North Sea. Most of them looks relatively dark on the RGB image. Using information in the infra red wavelength range it is possible to discriminate between the different oil types originating from different oil fields. The right image shows a classification of the different oil types. Even the small oil spill around the leftmost sample has been correctly classified. This technology makes it possible to trace oil spills back to its origin.

oil spill.

The image above shows the oil spill from the sunken Chinese bulk carrier Fu Shan Hai. This image was acquired in the beginning of June 2003. The Chinese ship sunk in the end of May 2003.

Food Quality Control

In food quality control fat content, exposure to light, ageing and bacteriological state are some key parameters that could be observed.

Industrial Imaging and Inspection

Hyperspectral cameras can be used to detect substances or unwanted objects on conveyor belts or for general quality control where spectral information could give vital information.


Hyperspectral imaging can be used for the detection of old settlements that are no longer visible due to substances in the soil that are not present in other areas.

Gas Leakage Detection

Many gases that is flammable and could be potentially explosive have optical absorption in the infra red (IR) range i.e., these gases will be visible using the NEO hyperspectral camera. The camera could scan petrochemical plants for gas plume detection.

Forensic Science

The NEO hyperspectral camera could also be used to detect phenomena, substances etc. that have characteristic spectral profiles where one literally search for spectral evidence.

Military and Police Work

There are military and law enforcement applications for hyperspectral imaging.

Resource Mapping

Hyperspectral cameras can be used for resource mapping in geology and other fields. Due to differing spectral characteristics of different minerals it is possible to detect minerals of interest.

Co-operation Partners

Among NEO's current co-operation partners are:
  • Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt (The Norwegian Defence Research Estabslishment)
  • Skogforsk (Norwegian Forest Research Institute)
  • Planteforsk (The Norwegian Crop Research Institute)
  • Norsk Romsenter (Norwegian Space Centre)
  • Fiskeriforskning (Norwegian Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture Research)

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