Target detection refers to the use of high spectral resolution remotely sensed images to map the locations of a target or feature (often a plant species of interest) with a particular spectral or spatial signature. Target detection or feature extraction encompasses a broad range of techniques, including measurements derived from individual bands and more complex methods designed to recognize discrete features by shape, hyperspectral signature, or texture. Targets of interest are often smaller than the pixel size of the image (subpixel target detection) or are mixed with other nontarget cover types within a pixel, requiring techniques such as spectral mixture analysis to detect the target species. Hyperspectral images are useful in target detection because they contain a large contiguous set of spectral bands, often numbering in the hundreds to thousands, and provide large quantities of high spectral resolution data. Using a hyperspectral image, the spectral properties of the target, such as contrast, variability, similarity and discriminability, can be used to detect targets at the subpixel level.
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