Ground facility

1. Weather radar (ARC-LIEF: LE130100136)

The METEOR 60DX Doppler Weather Radar is a highly sensitive X-Band weather radar system based on magnetron technology and featuring dual polarization as standard. It is suitable for mobile applications and permanent installation, and can be used for regional campaigns in hydrological forecasting and scientific research, as a gap-filler in existing meteorological networks or to fulfil general meteorological functions in the X-Band range.

OzNet – An Australian monitoring network for soil moisture and micrometeorology.

2. P-/L-band tower (ARC-Discrovery: DP170102373)

The Polarimetric P-band Multi-beam Radiometer (PPMR) is installed on the top of a 20 m tall tower, together with the Polarimetric L-band Multi-beam Radiometer (PLMR), for inter-comparison of the two approaches for retrieving soil moisture. These are multi-beam phased array radiometers that will provide data at a range of incidence angles radiating outwards from the tower. The two radiometers are installed pointing in different directions and rotated using a step motor to look at different land cover conditions emanating from the base of the tower. Importantly, the tower will be regularly raised and lowered during the observing periods to perform radiometer calibration checks.

Polarimetric P-band Multi-beam Radiometer

3. Flux monitoring tower

The flux monitoring tower is located in Yanco area in New South Wales. It was built with the objectives to provide additional validation data for use in land surface data assimilation, and validation for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-2 (AMSR2) soil moisture product and resulting soil moisture and flux estimates.

The instrumentation on the tower includes:

  • The tower with the temperature and humidity probes, wind sensor, ultrasonic anemometer and flux sensor.
  • Radiation frame: the Pyranometer with defrosting fan, PAR quantum sensor and infrared radiation thermometer.
  • Soil moisture, temperature and heat flux sensors.
  • Rain gauge.
  • Solar panels and battery sets to power the installation

JAXA flux monitoring tower


The CROPSCAN multispectral radiometers (MSR) are to be used as an objective and efficient means of estimating the effects of any condition that affects plant health, yield, or quality of the crop. For the CROPSCAN radiometer system, narrow band interference filters are used to select certain bands in the visible and near infrared (NIR) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This region is useful for quantifying the reflectivity of canopies as affected by stresses of various kinds. The NIR bands of 750-900 nm are particularly useful for detecting and estimating the severity of foliar disease of plants. Longer wavelengths in the NIR may be useful for estimating biochemical content of plants.

CROPSCAN multispectral radiometers

5. Buggy platform

The Buggy-based remote sensing platform integrates an L-band radiometer (ELBARA III), multi-spectral sensors (Skye Visible/Near InfraRed, ShortWave InfraRed, and Thermal InfraRed), and GNSS-R sensor (LARGO). A GPS and an Inertial Navigation System (INS) were used to record position and orientation of the buggy for geolocation. By driving the buggy across the farm, microwave brightness temperature, multi-spectral reflectance, and microwave emissivity at ~2 m resolution were measured simultaneously.

Buggy-based remote sensing platform

The following figure is the ELBARA III brightness temperature measurements, which were collected during an airborne field experiment conducted in January 2017 over the Cressy site in Tasmania.


6. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The objective of the UAV system is to develop autonomous flight and process UAV-based remote sensing system. It consists of quad-rotor UAV platform, sensing and capture system, and automatic imaging processing software. Currently it focuses on crop water stress mapping using optical and thermal infrared cameras. This system is extendable to a wide range of sensors and applications, such as transport monitoring and infrastructure assessment.

The figure on the left is the UAV system, and on the right is the thermal data taken with FLIR A65 mounted on the UAV.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

7. Hydraprobe Data Acquisition System (HDAS)

The Hydraprobe Data Acquisition System (HDAS) measures point-based water content of the top 5 cm soil layer using a Hydraprobe soil moisture sensor. A handheld computer in the system is used to control the sensor and record soil moisture measurements together with their locations from a built-in GPS. A GIS interface is used for display, navigation, and manually typing other ancillary information about the land surface.

Hydraprobe Data Acquisition System

The following figure is the temporal variation of ground HDAS soil moisture measurements, which were collected during an airborne field experiment conducted in January 2017 over the Cressy site in Tasmania.

HDAS Figure.