FarmShots primarily relies on a science generically referred to as remote sensing - determining the characteristics of a place or an object remotely, without making physical contact. Specifically, FarmShots uses satellites, drones, and planes to look at light reflected back from the Earth. Remote sensing is useful in many different fields, but the most typical application of remote sensing is the use of satellites to monitor characteristics of land.
FarmShots primarily uses remote sensing to detect the characteristics of plants in a field. By looking at what type of / how much light plants absorb, we can discern how healthy they are. Think about it like this - plants absorb light during photosynthesis to grow. The sun gives off light of multiple different wavelengths, and plants primarily absorb light that has a wavelength between 400nm and 700nm. Heat from the sun, that would otherwise cause damage, gets reflected back by a healthy plant in the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum (~700nm-1mm).
Using this fact, we can look at the difference between how a plant absorbs light and the way it absorbs near-infrared light to determine how healthy it is. This ratio is known as NDVI.
This is the fundamental science that allows FarmShots to exist - we can take a satellite image of a farm, and measure the ratio of red and NIR light reflected back by the plant, and use this to generate a map of the plant health like the one below.
The green parts of the farm have an NDVI close to 1, the red parts have an NDVI of -1 to 0.
NDVI is not the only remote sensing index. There are plenty of others available in FarmShots that measure things like moisture, etc. For more information on all the indices available through FarmShots, check out the indices section.
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Syngenta Digital Support
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