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Vegetation index of normalized difference

Orthoimage that represents the vegetation index of normalized difference (NDVI), with a resolution of 1 m. This index allows to estimate the quantity, quality and development of the vegetation, from the normalized difference between the radiation that reflects in the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum with respect to the red band of the visible spectrum.

This set of information is distributed in 2 by-products:

  • Real NDVI orthoimage, where each pixel takes the real value of the index in question (between -1 and 1), in such a way that it facilitates exhaustive studies but requires advanced software.
  • 8-bit NDVI orthoimage, where each pixel takes the value of the index in question but discrete to an integer range between 0 and 200, so that it facilitates an overview.

The NDVI is used, for example, to measure plant growth, determine vegetation cover, control biomass production, or determine the status and location of urban greenery.


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This cartography is under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
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This geoinformation can be used online in your applications supporting the WMS protocol

NDVI Metadata

Dates, specifications and other details

How is it calculated?

The ICGC's digital airborne cameras collect information from four regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, specifically from red, green, blue and near infrared regions (the latter cannot be detected by the human eye). The NDVI is calculated based on the information given by the red and near infrared regions, with the following formula:

NDVI = (near infrared - red) / (near infrared + red)

How is it interpreted?

When a tree is vigorous, it reflects a lot of sun radiation in near infrared and not much in red, so the NDVI is high. However, when a tree is sick, the opposite happens.

For example, if a vigorous tree reflects 50% in near infrared region and 8% in red region, the NDVI will be 0.72, according to the previous formula. However, if a sick tree reflects 40% in the near infrared region and 20% in red region, the NDVI will be 0.33.

So, taking into account that the NDVI always produces a number between -1 and 1, because of how it is calculated, we could say that an NDVI < 0 represents artificial cover or areas with water, NDVI between 0 and 0.3 represents bare soil, and a high NDVI value represents vegetation.


The following image is a normal aerial photo, where some areas of vegetation can be seen.

Normal aerial photography where you can distinguish some areas of vegetation


The following image includes near infrared, which clearly shows vegetation (red).

Near infrared image allow clearly distinguishing red vegetation


The following image is a non-classified NDVI value, that is, the direct result of the previous formula. In this one, the lighter areas are vigorous vegetation (high NDVI), and the darker areas are water or artificial cover (negative NDVI).

Not classified, direct result of the previous formula, the lighter areas correspond to vigorous vegetation (high NDVI), and the darker areas correspond to water or artificial covers (NDVI negative)

If in the previous image the

  • darker areas (NDVI < 0), which represent water or artificial cover, in red,
  • the dark areas (0 < NDVI < 0.2), which represent bare soil and dead vegetation, in orange,
  • the neither dark nor light areas (0.2 < NDVI < 0.4), which represent shrub or grassland, in yellow,
  • the light areas (0.4 < NDVI < 0.6), which represent abundant and vigorous vegetation, in light green, and
  • the lighter areas (NDVI > 0.6), which represent very dense and vigorous vegetation, in dark green,

are represented, the following image is produced, where we can easily see the areas with more and less vigorous vegetation:


Vegetation zones of the NDVI image (colors: red, corresponds to water; orange, to ground or dead vegetation; yellow, dispersed vegetation; light green, abundant vegetation, dark green, very dense vegetation)