Design of an ultra-portable field transfer radiometer supporting automated vicarious calibration

Nikolaus J Anderson, Kurtis Thome, Jeffrey S Czapla-Myers, Stuart F Biggar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


The University of Arizona Remote Sensing Group (RSG) began outfitting the radiometric calibration test site (RadCaTS) at Railroad Valley Nevada in 2004 for automated vicarious calibration of Earth-observing sensors. RadCaTS was upgraded to use RSG custom 8-band ground viewing radiometers (GVRs) beginning in 2011 and currently four GVRs are deployed providing an average reflectance for the test site. This measurement of ground reflectance is the most critical component of vicarious calibration using the reflectance-based method. In order to ensure the quality of these measurements, RSG has been exploring more efficient and accurate methods of on-site calibration evaluation. This work describes the design of, and initial results from, a small portable transfer radiometer for the purpose of GVR calibration validation on site. Prior to deployment, RSG uses high accuracy laboratory calibration methods in order to provide radiance calibrations with low uncertainties for each GVR. After deployment, a solar radiation based calibration has typically been used. The method is highly dependent on a clear, stable atmosphere, requires at least two people to perform, is time consuming in post processing, and is dependent on several large pieces of equipment. In order to provide more regular and more accurate calibration monitoring, the small portable transfer radiometer is designed for quick, one-person operation and on-site field calibration comparison results. The radiometer is also suited for laboratory calibration use and thus could be used as a transfer radiometer calibration standard for ground viewing radiometers of a RadCalNet site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEarth Observing Systems XX
EditorsJames J. Butler, Xiaoxiong Xiong, Xingfa Gu
ISBN (Electronic)9781628417739
StatePublished - 2015
EventEarth Observing Systems XX - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2015Aug 13 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherEarth Observing Systems XX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Automated vicarious calibration
  • RadCaTS
  • RadCalNet
  • automated post-launch satellite calibration
  • portable radiance calibration
  • radiometric calibration
  • transfer radiometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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