What are panels?
Every object absorbs and reflects a certain amount of light. The amount of light reflected and absorbed by an object (also referred to as an objects "reflectance") can be measured using specialized equipment.
Every RedEdge includes a grey, plastic box containing a white square and a QR code. The large white square next to the QR code is a calibrated "panel" that can be used to calibrate the reflectance values of the MicaSense RedEdge (3, M, or MX) or Altum. Each of the MicaSense panels have been tested to determine its reflectance across the spectrum of light captured by your MicaSense Sensor.
How are panel images used in processing?
Panel images are used to compensate for the lighting conditions at the time of image capture. Images of a calibrated panel taken before and after each flight provide an accurate representation of the amount of light reaching the ground at the time of capture.
For more information, please see our article about how calibration panel images are used in processing RedEdge images.
Why are panel reflectance measurements important?
Reflectance panels 'anchor' the captured data to the lighting conditions of the date, time, and location of the flight. As your MicaSense sensor measures reflected light in 5 different spectral bands, it's important to know what the input light from the sun is for those same bands. The panel images allow your processing provider (Pix4D, Agisoft, Solvi) to compensate. Without a calibration process, data captured over different days or at different times of day cannot be accurately compared for changes.