Hyperspectral and Thermal Remote Sensing Laboratory

Our lab uses remote sensing technologies to detect problems with crops, forests and other environmental resources as early as possible.

The Hyperspectral and Thermal Remote Sensing Laboratory (HyperSens Lab) captures high-resolution imagery for environmental, forestry and precision agriculture applications.

We use high-resolution hyperspectral and thermal imaging sensors mounted onto light aircraft, as well as drones for smaller-scale projects. These sensing technologies can capture images at a fine-scale resolution – helping to identify stress factors, down to the level of individual plants, across thousands of hectares.

One of our key focuses is detecting water and nutrient stress, as well as diseases, before they produce visible harm.

We work with a wide range of industry partners and can provide research and advice on areas including:

  • Water and nutrient stress detection
  • Disease monitoring
  • Remote sensing for precision agriculture
  • Large-scale imaging of farms and forestry areas.

For example, as part of a large project with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, we used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse hyperspectral and thermal imagery from Victoria to adapt European detection algorithms for the plant pathogen bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. These efforts are part of Australia’s preparedness program for this pathogen.


Our Airborne Remote Sensing Facility uses sensors mounted on aircraft or drones to acquire high-resolution imagery. We can also analyse high-resolution commercial satellite imagery for operational surveillance purposes.

The sensors are made up of hyperspectral imaging in the visible and near-infrared regions, a hyperspectral-fluorescence camera and a high-resolution thermal camera.

At typical flight altitudes, the airborne facility can collect imagery at 30 centimetre – 1.5metre resolutions, from small fields up to several thousands of hectares.

You can use the facility for:

  • Image acquisition over specific areas ranging small fields up to thousands of hectares using hyperspectral and thermal cameras
  • Processing of large datasets of remote sensing images
  • Estimation of plant traits and biophysical parameters using empirical and biophysical algorithms.

User information

The HyperSens Lab leads research projects with partners worldwide, with increasing emphasis on applied research, technology transfer and engagement with industry.

We’ve worked with a range of organisations and industries in agriculture, forestry and regional development including the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Southern Cross Farms, Boundary Bend, HVP Plantations, and as part of international projects funded by the European Commission.

Contact us today to discuss how our expertise and equipment could help your next project.

Contact us

Professor Pablo Zarco-Tejada
Email: pablo.zarco@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61466858609
FEIT: Level 6, Melbourne Connect. University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

You can read more at the HyperSens blog.

First published on 15 March 2023.

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