The NEON Airborne Observation Platform (AOP) is an aircraft platform carrying remote sensing instrumentation designed to achieve sub-meter to meter scale ground resolution, bridging scales from organisms and individual stands of vegetation to satellite-based remote sensing.
Since 2013, AOP has conducted a series of engineering flight campaigns at select NEON domains for the purpose of 1) testing the nominal data collection parameters for these sites; and 2) evaluating data processing techniques and obtain prototype datasets that support spatial/temporal scaling studies by the research community. The remote sensing data collected during these campaigns have been processed and several first level engineering data products are available for distribution. Since these data were collected as part of Engineering Flight Campaigns, they are considered “engineering quality” and may not have sufficient QA/QC to meet all users’ needs.
Airborne Data Types
Each AOP payload consists of a visible to shortwave infrared imaging spectrometer, a scanning small-footprint waveform LiDAR for three-dimensional canopy structure measurements, and a high resolution airborne digital camera for fine-scale land use and cover identification. AOP flight campaigns are designed to collect quantitative information on land use change and changes to ecological structure and chemistry, including the presence and effects of invasive species across landscapes 100-300km2 surrounding NEON sites.