Bulk density is an important geophysical property that impacts the mobility of military vehicles and personnel. Accurate retrieval of bulk density from remotely sensed data is, therefore, needed to estimate the mobility on "off-road" terrain. For a particulate surface, the functional form of the opposition effect can provide valuable information about composition and structure. In this research, we examine the relationship between bulk density and angular width of the opposition effect for a controlled set of laboratory experiments. Given a sample with a known bulk density, we collect reflectance measurements on a spherical grid for various illumination and view geometries — increasing the amount of reflectance measurements collected at small phase angles near the opposition direction. Bulk densities are varied using a custom-made pluviation device, samples are measured using the Goniometer of the Rochester Institute of Technology-Two (GRIT-T), and observations are fit to the Hapke model using a grid-search method. The method that is selected allows for the direct estimation of five parameters: the single-scattering albedo, the amplitude of the opposition effect, the angular width of the opposition effect, and the two parameters that describe the single-particle phase function. As a test of the Hapke model, the retrieved bulk densities are compared to the known bulk densities. Results show that with an increase in the availability of multi-angular reflectance measurements, the prospects for retrieving the spatial distribution of bulk density from satellite and airborne sensors are imminent.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Geophysics--Remote sensing; Earth (Planet)--Surface--Remote sensing; Remote sensing--Data processing; Reflectance spectroscopy

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Science (Ph.D.)

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


Charles Bachmann

Advisor/Committee Member

David Ross

Advisor/Committee Member

David Messinger


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes