Polarization is indicative of small scale surface roughness and photometry indicates large scale surface roughness. These phenomenon are evident from measurements on natural and contrived surfaces. The original surface scattering research was based on laboratory simulation of the lunar surface from astronomical observations prior to the lunar landing. It was found that large scale irregularities on a surface causes shadowing to exert a major influence on the surface photometric scattering, as well as polarization. A dust coating on a coarse surface modifies the photometric as well as the polarimetric scattering function. The dust coating causes depolarization and generally increased surface brightness. Percent polarization is found to be inversely proportional to surface optical albedo. In remote sensing, the fine structure on targets is related to percent polarization. Polarized retroreflectance is found to be related to both coarse and fine structure of surfaces and valuable key to assessing contributing factors. Also, polarization can be used to advantage in military applications to distinguish targets from backgrounds.© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.