Polarization adds another dimension to the spatial intensity and spectral information typically acquired in remote sensing. Polarization imparted by surface reflections contains unique and discriminatory signatures which may augment spectral target-detection techniques. While efforts have been made toward quantifying the polarimetric bidirectional reflectance distribution function (pBRDF) responsible for target material polarimetric signatures, little has been done toward developing a description of the polarized background or scene clutter. An approach is presented for measuring the pBRDF of background materials such as vegetation. The governing equation for polarized radiance reaching a sensor aperture is first developed and serves as a basis for understanding outdoor pBRDF measurements, as well as polarimetric remote sensing. The pBRDF measurements are acquired through an imaging technique which enables derivation of the BRDF variability as a function of the ground separation distance (GSD). An image subtraction technique is used to minimize measurement errors resulting from the partially polarized downwelled sky radiance. Quantifying the GSD-dependent BRDF variability is critical for background materials which are typically spatially inhomogeneous. Preliminary results from employing the measurement technique are presented.

Publication Date



"A polarized clutter measurement technique based on the governing equation for polarimetric remote sensing in the visible to near infrared," Targets and Backgrounds XI: Characterization and Representation, SPIE volume 5811. Held in Orlando, Florida: March 2005. Copyright 2005 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. This paper is is made available as an electronic reprint with permission of SPIE. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited. ISSN:0277-786X Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus