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What does the Infrared band represent and why is it not only red?

TerrAvion's very high-resolution Infrared imagery is a tool to see current plant health. It does not always show only red colors.

Each TerrAvion image delivery contains an Infrared band. This band shows you timely and accurate plant health information, as it is a reflection of the NIR light that is reflected by healthy plants. The name Infrared can be somewhat misleading. Most of the time the Infrared imagery is actual various gradations of red, but it is not uncommon to see actual completely different colors in TerrAvion's Infrared band. 

Interpreting CIR Imagery

The following is a general summary of what the different colors in CIR aerial imagery represent:

Intense bright red- Bright tones of red typically represent vigorously growing, dense vegetation that is producing a large amount of chlorophyll. (See trees and field in the center and right center of the CIR photo at right.)

Lighter tones of red, magenta, pinks- These colors generally represent vegetation that does not contain as much chlorophyll such as mature stands of evergreens. Agricultural fields nearing the end of the growing season, and dead or unhealthy plants often appear in less intense reds, green, or tan. 

White, blue, green, or tan- These colors often represent soils. Darker shades of soil generally indicate higher moisture levels or organic matter. Soil composition also affects soil color appearance, with clayey soils appearing in darker tans and blue-greens, and sandy soils appearing white, gray, or light tan. Crops nearing the end of the growing season, or dead or unhealthy plants will appear in various light tones of red and pink, or greens and tans. Pale or light blue can also represent sediment-laden water. Buildings and manmade materials such as concrete and dry gravel generally appear white to light blue in CIR photos.

Dark blue to black- Water ranges from shades of blue to black depending on the clarity and depth. Usually, the clearer the water, the darker the color. However, shallow streams will often display the colors associated with the materials in their stream beds. If the stream bed is made of sand, the color will appear white or very light tan due to the high reflective property of sand. Asphalt roads generally appear dark blue to black.

Information from Minnesota Geospatial Information Office