Pushbroom Scanners

The pushbroom scanner, otherwise known as the linear array sensor, is a scanner without any mechanical scanning mirror, or indeed any moving parts. Instead it has a linear array of sensors with one sensor for each area sampled on the ground. Charge coupled devices (CCD) are usually used for the sensors. This enables the pushbroom scanner to record one line of an image simultaneously, with this line being perpendicular to the flight direction. In the same way as mechanical scanners, forward motion is achieved through the flight direction of the platform (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 - Schematic of data acquisition by a pushbroom scanner

Now that you know the main structure of conventional mechanical and pushbroom scanners, try to consider what the advantages and disadvantages of pushbroom scanners over mechanical scanners are. Use the drag and drop activity below to help you with this.

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The best known pushbroom scanners currently in use are probably the HRV sensors on the SPOT satellites.

Last updated and validated 25/10/99
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