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NDVI and Crop Scouting with Inspire - How To?

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AerialMediaPros has been working the past 6+ months to partner and build a simple NDVI Inspire 1 mapping system for farmers and agriculture professionals, and we want your feedback. We have been extremely careful in selecting what we offer in terms of NDVI because there is no end-all solution that covers every grower and every crop. You may see multiple NDVI drone platforms and camera conversions in your Google search results, however each platform and NIR filter have their own set of limitations and they need to be fully understood before the NDVI image means anything to a farmer. So first off, don't be swayed by companies offering a full NDVI experience in 1 camera.



The X3 NDVI camera is converted in house, using an internal Blue + NIR filter and modified lens. The Blue + NIR is known as the best combination for a variety of ag uses, so we have started with this filter and will be expanding our offerings for more crop specific solutions. The original sensor has purposely not been changed, so you are still getting all the power of the Sony EXMOR CMOS sensor.

NDVI is much more helpful when comparing next to a standard RGB color image/map. For this reason, AerialMediaPros chose the Inspire 1 platform because it can easily swap out the NDVI X3 camera and standard camera to fly duplicate missions with different cameras.

For an introduction into the Ag Scout Series and NDVI Mapping, check out this video:

Below is a comparison of raw and NDVI processed maps created using DroneDeploy:


So... what do you think?
More details here: http://aerialmediapros.com/store/ag-scout-pro-inspire-1-ndvi-mapping-drone/dp/829
 
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I had an interesting conversation with one of your reps yesterday about this NDVI camera and am just getting a grip on the technology involved. If and when Dronedeploy ever get their iOS app for the Inspire up and running (or at least out in beta), I will be an interested potential customer. You mentioned that the filter is tuned crop-specific: which crops? Corn and soybeans are the prevalent crops here in MN.
 
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The filter has be selected for its broad range of agricultural uses, and practically all US grown crops can be properly captured by Blue + NIR. That said, 'crop specific' may not have been the best term, what we mean to convey is that there are other filter combinations that may show a more contrasted image depending on the filter used and the crop in question. However, Blue + NIR has had the best performance across the board.
 
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I'm a noob on the topic of crop scouting but it seems like good business opportunity. I'm going to have to do some research.

In your post you wrote "For an introduction into the Ag Scout Series and NDVI Mapping, check out this video:" but I don't see a link.
 
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Yes we have an upgrade program, where you can send in your camera and we will convert it to NDVI for the same price as the NDVI camera ($1299) minus the cost of a new camera ($550) = $749. Feel free to email us at [email protected] and let us know that would like to send in your camera to be upgraded. Note: The camera will not produce normal color imagery after being converted to NDVI, and your raw footage will appear pink/blue.
 
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Yes we have an upgrade program, where you can send in your camera and we will convert it to NDVI for the same price as the NDVI camera ($1299) minus the cost of a new camera ($550) = $749. Feel free to email us at [email protected] and let us know that would like to send in your camera to be upgraded. Note: The camera will not produce normal color imagery after being converted to NDVI, and your raw footage will appear pink/blue.
Understood. This is actually perfect since I will be sending you my backup camera.

What is the turnaround time. Will I get the same camera s/n?
 
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Turnaround time is 1-3 business days for an upgrade, and since the conversion is merely a core exchange your serial no. will remain the same.
 
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Nothing against crop scouting, using an r/c aircraft for the job is a no brainier but, using the i1 is complete overkill and a waste of time, this isn't gunna fly.

What was this camera, 1200 bucks? On top of the 2600+ dollars for the rest of the setup? Why? This is like showing up for a kids go-cart race in a F1 car.

All you need to do is look down at the crop right? Do you need to fly 60mph? Do you need it in 4k or 1080 at 60fps? Do you need it gyro stabilized Hollywood quality? The answer to all of this is no.

When you think about it this is more suitable for a fixed wing aircraft instead of a quad copter. You need to cover great distances over large crops in open spaces... Why use a quad copter when a plane would be much more suited for this situation? Powered glider all the way, big wing span, slow flight, with some cheap gimbal and this task is far easier with 30 minuets to an hour of flight time instead of 20 minuets

The inspire is too high maintenance in that it relies on dji to fix software problems which are 99% of the reasons they get grounded, something a farmer in the middle of no where cannot fix on his own. A simple 2 or 4 channel electric glider will have infinity longer flying time and 1% of the maintenance problems of the i1. Less then 25% of the upfront investment for this tool and if something breaks you can fix it with glue and duck tape all day long.

Take your processor, put it in a cheaper camera on a cheap fixed wing aircraft that's easier to use then the i1 and you should run with it. Nobody is going to spend this much time and money just to take still photos of a crop once in a great while. You could probably have the crop duster do it for 100 bucks with a camera sticking out side the cockpit lol.
 
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Nothing against crop scouting, using an r/c aircraft for the job is a no brainier but, using the i1 is complete overkill and a waste of time, this isn't gunna fly.

What was this camera, 1200 bucks? on top of the 2600+ dollars for the rest of the setup? Why? This is like showing up for a kids go-cart race in a F1 car.

All you need to do is look down at the crop right? Do you need to fly 60mph? Do you need it in 4k or 1080 at 60fps? Do you need it gyro stabilized Hollywood quality? The answer to all of this is no.

When you think about it this is more suitable for a fixed wing aircraft instead of a quad copter. You need to cover great distances over large crops in open spaces... Why use a quad copter when a plane would be much more suited for this situation? Powered glider all the way, big wing span, slow flight, with some cheap gimbal and this task is far easier with 30 minuets to an hour of flight time instead of 20 minuets

The inspire is too high maintenance in that it relies on dji to fix software problems which are 99% of the reasons they get grounded, something a farmer in the middle of no where cannot fix on his own. A simple 2 or 4 channel electric glider will have infinity longer flying time and 1% of the maintenance problems of the i1. less then 25% of the upfront investment for this tool and if something breaks you can fix it with glue and duck tape all day long.

take your processor, put it in a cheaper camera on a cheap fixed wing aircraft that's easier to use then the i1 and you should run with it. nobody is going to spend this much time and money just to take still photos of a crop once in a great while.
Actually the Inspire is one of our cheapest Ag survey aircraft... by far. Having flown the Inspire for an NDVI ag survey a few hours ago, I can tell you it works very well. In fact, it works much better in windy conditions or difficult terrain the the Ma Vinchi or X5.
 
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Actually the Inspire is one of our cheapest Ag survey aircraft... by far. Having flown the Inspire for an NDVI ag survey a few hours ago, I can tell you it works very well. In fact, it works much better in windy conditions or difficult terrain the the Ma Vinchi or X5.
Are you kidding me? Prey I dont follow through with my glider idea because you will be in big trouble if I do. A 200 dollar Styrofoam powered glider could do this job all day long in 20 mph of wind. I could put together a glider that could lift a full DSLR camera to do this job for less then a 1000 bucks.

You would know this if you had flown gliders or even gas powered R/C planes which can handle A LOT of wind and still come out way cheaper than the inspire. You know what it take to make a stabilized gimbals? 2, 10 dollar servos and a 5x5 inch piece of balsa wood lol.

One more thing to add. Im not disrespecting the camera/ software /processor whatever put together here. I think it's a sophisticated piece of equipment. I just know it can be done much cheaper with far lest risky equipment and investment to do the same job. When the i2 comes out and all this stuff drops in value more then more people will probably be interested in it.
 
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Are you kidding me? Prey I dont follow through with my glider idea because you will be in big trouble if i do. A 200 dollar Styrofoam powered glider could do this job all day long in 20 mph of wind. i could put together a glider that could lift a full DSLR camera to do this job for less then a 1000 bucks.

you would know this if you had flown gliders or even gas powered R/C planes which can handle A LOT of wind and still come out way cheaper than the inspire.
No I am not kidding you. The Ma Vinchi is just that, a Styrofoam glider and costs upwards of 60k but the Inspire is very good at low and slow. Will your glider be able to fly 7mph without being blown all over the shop in 15 knot crosswinds?

'you would know this if you had flown gliders or even gas powered R/C planes which can handle A LOT of wind and still come out way cheaper than the inspire.'
You have no idea what kind of aircraft I have flown, toy, quad or manned so discussion of my relevant experience is not a topic of which you have any expertise to speak of.

NOW what I can say is, if you don't have the equipment, have not flown it, do not know how, then please chime in with once you have built your aircraft and flown it with results.
 
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This is an image I shot this morning compressed from 1.5GB down to under a Mb so that it would load on the site. ndvi_merged 2.jpg
 
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Link didn't work but i'll take your word for it. All I can "chime in" for you is go to a hobby store or a r/c field and talk to some people there. here is my resume.

I've flown 2, 8 and 10, channel gliders i've built from balsa wood kits with rudder, flaps, ailerons and spoilers powered and none powered gliders, powered tow hook behind other gas powered r/c airplanes and bungee launched. I currently own 2 gas powered airplanes that are bigger then 5 of your inspires put together and will cut your freaking arm off at an idle. I competed in ama glider competitions. I started and built a r/c field sanctioned by the ama right next to a private airfield.

Believe me when i say this. A 500 dollar toy plane for a 10 year old kid from Toys R Us can crop survey all day long in 40 mph of wind.

What ever makes your glider cost 60,000 dollars must be some heavy duty equipment because that's nuts and i think your in the wrong forum lol. Does it orbit the earth once a day? So, if you managed to get all that onto an inspire camera then your basically saying anything that can lift the I1 camera can do the job. I'll redirect you to the paragraph above. take your software. put it onto a cheap cheap cheap camera and gimbal system and slap that on a simple glider air frame.

what makes the inspire good? it does what a real helicopter does and anyone can use it in their back yard.

what makes a good crop scouting tool good? it does what your i1 camera does for a fraction of the cost, call china.
 
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Link didn't work but i'll take your word for it. All I can "chime in" for you is go to a hobby store or a r/c field and talk to some people there. here is my resume.

I've flown 2, 8 and 10, channel gliders i've built from balsa wood kits with rudder, flaps, ailerons and spoilers powered and none powered gliders, powered tow hook behind other gas powered r/c airplanes and bungee launched. I currently own 2 gas powered airplanes that are bigger then 5 of your inspires put together and will cut your freaking arm off at an idle. I competed in ama glider competitions. I started and built a r/c field sanctioned by the ama right next to a private airfield.

Believe me when i say this. A 500 dollar toy plane for a 10 year old kid from Toys R Us can crop survey all day long in 40 mph of wind.

What ever makes your glider cost 60,000 dollars must be some heavy duty equipment because that's nuts and i think your in the wrong forum lol. Does it orbit the earth once a day? So, if you managed to get all that onto an inspire camera then your basically saying anything that can lift the I1 camera can do the job. I'll redirect you to the paragraph above. take your software. put it onto a cheap cheap cheap camera and gimbal system and slap that on a simple glider air frame.

what makes the inspire good? it does what a real helicopter does and anyone can use it in their back yard.

what makes a good crop scouting tool good? it does what your i1 camera does for a fraction of the cost, call china.
Great, like I said talk is cheap. When you have one for us let us know. Until then I will keep working. @Aerial Media Pros - thanks for a great product that further enhances the Inspire.
 
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Yes you can strap a DSLR to a fixed wing and it would be able to grab some quick pictures but it would not be fit for precision agriculture. Farmers have been hiring companies and crop dusters to fly over their property with DSLRs for years, but that doesn't produce real time data that can be read and translated by a variety of softwares. The vision behind the Inspire and using sUAV platforms is that you can track progress, duplicate missions, and deliver excellent high resolution maps. To convert a DSLR to NDVI would cost you another couple thousand dollars, and then you are stuck with a system that only does NDVI. With the Inspire and Matrice however, you simply land the craft, switch cameras and fly the same exact mission with a RGB or any other camera offered for ag use. To have these capabilities on a fixed wing your looking at upwards of 15K for the simplest version.
 
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Yes you can strap a DSLR to a fixed wing and it would be able to grab some quick pictures but it would not be fit for precision agriculture. Farmers have been hiring companies and crop dusters to fly over their property with DSLRs for years, but that doesn't produce real time data that can be read and translated by a variety of softwares. The vision behind the Inspire and using sUAV platforms is that you can track progress, duplicate missions, and deliver excellent high resolution maps. To convert a DSLR to NDVI would cost you another couple thousand dollars, and then you are stuck with a system that only does NDVI. With the Inspire and Matrice however, you simply land the craft, switch cameras and fly the same exact mission with a RGB or any other camera offered for ag use. To have these capabilities on a fixed wing your looking at upwards of 15K for the simplest version.
So if im understanding your correctly, in order for this to work the aircraft needs to be stationary? your not taking stills but recording video over an exact point for a long period of time? how long does the camera need to be held in position for?
 

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