What is imaging spectroscopy and what are its benefits?
With multispectral sensors, a limited number of broad spectral bands in the visible and infrared wavelength range are imaging the earth's surface. Multispectral sensors have been used quite successfully to create maps that consist of land cover units with discernible spectral differences in the multispectral sensor's band set. Multispectral sensors undersample the spectrum too much and their spectral resolution is insufficient to detect subtle spectral variations. In contrast, imaging spectrometers like APEX sample contiguously in the visible and infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum using dozens to hundreds of narrow spectral bands. Hence, images of complete visible to short wave infrared spectra can be measured of the earth's surface at spatial resolutions between 2 and 30 m. Such data allows an experienced analyst to extract useful and more precise quantitative information about the terrestrial environment.