A coefficient CW, which was defined as the ratio of NIR (near infrared) to the red reflected spectral response of the spectrometer, with a standard whiteboard as the measuring object, was introduced to establish a method for calculating height-independent vegetation indices (VIs). Two criteria for designing the spectrometer based on an active light source were proposed to keep CW constant. A designed spectrometer, which was equipped with an active light source, adopting 730 and 810 nm as the central wavelength of detection wavebands, was used to test the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Ratio Vegetation Index (RVI) in wheat fields with two nitrogen application rate levels (NARLs). Twenty test points were selected in each kind of field. Five measuring heights (65, 75, 85, 95, and 105 cm) were set for each test point. The mean and standard deviation of the coefficient of variation (CV) for NDVI in each test point were 3.85% and 1.39% respectively, the corresponding results for RVI were 2.93% and 1.09%. ANOVA showed the measured VIs possessed a significant ability to discriminate the NARLs and had no obvious correlation with the measurement heights. The experimental results verified the feasibility and validity of the method for measuring height-independent VIs.
Keywords: active light source; measurement method; reflectance spectrometer; vegetation indices.