NDVI Sensors for Drones

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Please see here for updated information: NDVI Cameras For Drones

Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is a measurement of the amount of live vegetation in an area and is commonly used for agricultural assessment. This page will discuss the following topics:

  1. What is NDVI?
  2. What are common misconceptions of NDVI?
  3. How can I set up my drone to generate NDVI data with DroneDeploy?

What is NDVI?

NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) is a simple metric which indicates the health of green vegetation. It compares the reflected intensities of near infrared (NIR) and visible light (see here for a more detailed explanation).

Sensors compatible with DroneDeploy have infra-blue conversions, which allow blue, green and NIR light through to the sensor. This allows us to use the enhanced version of the NDVI formula, or eNDVI (see here for a detailed explanation) to calculate the NDVI layer you see on your DroneDeploy account (if you are using a compatible camera), giving you an even more reliable metric for assessing crop health.

The eNDVI values are calculated for each pixel of your map, giving them an index in the range -1 -> 1; the meanings of these values is given below:

ENDVI value

< 0

Inanimate / dead material, e.g. roads, buildings, soil or dead plants

0 -> 0.33

Unhealthy plant material

0.33 -> 0.66

Healthy plant material

-> 0.66

Very healthy plant material

Can I create NDVI data with DroneDeploy?

DroneDeploy generates an NDVI map layer from your flight if you capture images using a camera with a modified sensor. The modification changes the internal filter on the camera so that instead of capturing red, green, and blue light, it captures near infrared, green, and blue light.

Getting a NDVI-compatible camera

DroneDeploy users on both DJI and 3DR platforms have options to set up their hardware in order to generate NDVI layers of their maps.

NDVI Sensors for DJI Drones

DJI drones must be equipped with a standard DJI camera in order to trigger image capture on DroneDeploy. Though modified cameras area available for

Below are companies that sell modified DJI drones capable of capturing near-infrared light. Please contact them directly for samples and questions regarding quality.


-Ready to fly modified DJI drones for use in agriculture
-Camera upgrade program for existing DJI drones (call for details)

-Ready to fly modified DJI drones for use in agriculture

3DR Drones

Users flying 3DR can contact the companies below in order to set up their cameras to capture NDVI imagery.


Replaces filter on your camera. Suggested filter: "ENDVI"

Sony QX1 (Recommended), A5000, A5100, A6000, DSC-RX100 (m3), A7R, A7, A7S, NEX-6, NEX-5R, NEX-5T, DSC-QX100

Sells converted GoPros and replacement lenses, will modify a user's GoPro

GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Hero 4 Black, Hero 3+ Silver, Hero 3+ Black, Hero 3 Black

Sells converted GoPros and replacement lenses, will modify a user's GoPro

GoPro Hero 4 Silver, Hero 4 Black

Replaces filter on your camera

Sony QX1 (Recommended), A5000, A5100, A6000, A7R, A7, A7S

Provides filter kits for DIY conversions. Blue filter is required.

Sony QX1 (Recommended), A5000, NEX-5R, NEX-5T *

The AgEagle includes a camera modified for near-infrared with an exclusive custom filter designed in cooperation with industry and university partners.

Sony QX1

* These are the cameras we know to be DIY convertible with varying degrees of difficulty. There may be other supported Sony cameras which can be converted. Please be careful if you do decide to modify your own camera- home conversions can be tricky, and we've certainly wrecked a few cameras ourselves!