Space Instruments
ForestMapper's two cameras (visible light top; near infrared bottom) capture a pair of images that can be used to yield an accurate assessment of the health of vegetation.

Processed NDVI image, Lake Arrowhead

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for vegetation mapping

ForestMapper enables conservationists and agronomists to view the health or decline of forests, cropland and other vegetation areas on a large scale. By combining dual wavelength bands of near infrared and visible sensors, they can visualize the aftereffects of wildfires, pinpoint deforestation problems, and uncover erosion issues.

The Near Infrared (NIR) and visible cameras are boresighted and triggered simultaneously, so they image the same ground area. Healthy vegetation shows up very bright in the NIR due to the chlorophyl, so the 2 images can be combined to produce an NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) map which indicates the relative health of the trees, crops and other vegetation. This multi-spectral capability is especially valuable for mapping burned areas to plan for replanting and erosion control.

ForestMapper can also be used for aerial surveys of animal populations and endangered species. It has been used in Mexico as part of a program to count endangered elephant seals in areas that are difficult to get to such as Guadalupe Island. It has recently seen extensive use in Brazil for detecting and documenting deforestation and illegal logging of the Amazon rainforests.

View reference letter from IBAMA, the Brazilian governmental agency currently using Forestmapper to monitor the Amazon region.

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