The Infragram project brings together a range of different efforts to make Do-It-Yourself plant h...
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The Infragram project brings together a range of different efforts to make Do-It-Yourself plant health comparisons possible with infrared photography.
This project was made possible with support from Google and the AREN Project at NASA.
Vineyards, large farms, and NASA all use near-infrared photography for assessment, usually by mounting expensive sensors on airplanes and satellites. Infrared analysis is used for a variety of things, but most focus on assessing plant health, such as:
Just as cell phone video has become instrumental in accountability today, we aim to democratize and improve reporting about environmental impacts.
To start to do your own infrared analysis project, you'll need:
In 2014, we launched an early version of this project on Kickstarter, and the video is a good overview of the project, although we've come a long way since:
The Infragram Kickstarter video, a great introduction to the project.
The Public Lab Store offers a range of Do-It-Yourself kits to convert cameras for infrared photography, as well as ready-made cameras like the Infragram Point & Shoot camera:
Get a kit to start
Also see Getting images, below.
There are three major ways to produce multispectral "infragram" images:
Since these are a hard to keep track of, here's a diagram to show the three main types (you can edit the diagram here):
An important limitation of most DIY techniques is that we are using uncalibrated cameras, and so the analysis works best when we compare two vegetated areas under the same conditions (light, angle, time of day) rather than just take a photo of a single region. That is, the DIY approach is based on relative, or comparative, uses -- you can't learn a lot without a point of comparison.
An easy way to do a comparison is:
Learn more at Comparing Plant Health
Doing NDVI analysis on plants requires post-processing both infrared and visible images (or a combined image -- see Getting images) into a composite image, using the NDVI equation (or another like it). This can be done with a variety of software; see this page for more:
Post questions or troubleshooting requests here, for example about:
We're working to refine and improve DIY infrared photography on a number of fronts; here, take a look at the leading challenges we're hoping to solve, and post your own. For now, we're using the Q&A feature, so just click "Ask a question" to post your own challenge.
Be sure to add:
To start, you'll need near-infrared images and regular visible light images of the same scene -- or an image which combines these in different color channels.
There are sources of #remote-sensing imagery from satellites and planes you can use, but the Infragram project is about making and using low-cost converted cameras to take our own images.
There are both single camera and dual camera ways of doing this, and each has pros and cons.
Get a kit here or learn about converting a camera here:
Infrared Camera Conversion
We've learned that careful white balancing of your converted Infragram camera is essential for good NDVI images. Learn how in this short video and read in depth on the topic in research by Chris Fastie. There is also a wiki page on the subject at http://publiclab.org/wiki/infrablue-white-balance
If you're using an Infragram Point & Shoot (aka Mobius Action Cam), see this page for a guide on setting the white balance of that camera.
Should you use a RED or BLUE filter?
See Infragram filters for more on different filters and how well they work.
Early research by Public Lab contributors led to a blue filter technique for making Infragram cameras. But recent research on PublicLab.org has shown that red filters work better -- and on a wider range of cameras. Blue filters did not work on most CMOS cameras, especially cheaper webcams. Public Lab kits now ship with the red Rosco #19 "Fire" filter.
Here are some resources to get help converting or using your Infragram camera. Keep in mind that we are a peer driven community and we encourage everyone to give as well as receive assistance and support!
When describing your question or answer, please include details of the equipment and process you are using as described here for Infragram photos .
Also see our older FAQ here: https://publiclab.org/wiki/infragram-faq
"We're excited that Public Laboratory is developing a low-cost infrared camera which will help us track the success of wetland restoration projects in the Gulf Region--as well as help us track pollution. The Gulf Restoration Network has been using the aerial monitoring techniques that Public Lab developed, so having the infrared camera available to put on the balloon and kite rig will only expand the applications of that technology as well as add value to airplane monitoring flights that help us watchdog the oil industry in the Gulf." -- Scott Eustis, M.S., Gulf Restoration Network
The Public Lab community has been building up a knowledge base in DIY infrared imaging for years. Read more about the history of this project here
Digital files for the filter pack envelope (including logo) and instructions:
Sketchup model for the "filter switch" graphic: filter-switch.skp
Datasheet for Infragram Webcam: infragram-webcam-new-old-diagram.pdf
Focal length of the camera:3.27mm.
Chip sensor size for the camera: Sensor:ov2643,SIZE:1/4"
(older content below)
So you have an Infragram camera, or a filter kit, and you want to start analyzing plant health? After this page, the first place to look for answers is Public Lab's infrared photography discussion list, which you can sign up for in the left-hand column. There are plenty of other DIY infrared photographers, from novices to experts, willing to offer advice and help troubleshoot.
Doing NDVI analysis on plants requires post-processing both infrared and visible images (or a combined image -- see Cameras) into a composite image, using the NDVI equation (or another like it). This can be done with a variety of software; see this page for more:
The question to start with is whether you can capture all the channels you need for your research question with a single converted camera or whether you should use a dual camera rig with one converted camera and one unconverted. That choice plays out in terms of what filter (blue or red) to use for converting your camera.
Check out this list of cameras, detailing how to convert some and collecting information on which cameras work and which don't:
Here's a link to a great video on converting a camera using PL's filter kit:
Please share your experiences and post additional cameras to this list!
Early research by Public Lab contributors led to a blue filter technique for making Infragram cameras. But recent research on PublicLab.org has shown that red filters work better -- and on a wider range of cameras. Blue filters did not work on most CMOS cameras, especially cheaper webcams. By the beginning of the new year the Filter Kits will ship with red filters -- specifically the Rosco #19 "Fire" filter as well as the blue filter #2007.
For those who use the webcam and have a Python interpreter, there are some image processing codes available at Python Webcam Codes.
Where are people doing Infragram work? This map will show some projects and posts by location:
The Infragram camera was originally developed by Public Lab contributors to assess damage to wetlands in the wake of the BP oil spill; but it's also a simple, easy-to-modify, open-source hardware and software tool that anyone who's curious about plant physiology and health can use. You can go back and read through much of this work by reading research notes tagged with 'near-infrared-camera' and the most recent work on the Infragram technique by looking for the tag 'infragram'.
Vineyards, large farms, and NASA all use near-infrared photography for assessment, usually by mounting expensive sensors on airplanes and satellites. Infragram brings this technology to average citizens, enabling them to monitor their environment through quantifiable, citizen-generated data.
Just as photography was instrumental to the rise of credible print journalism, DIY data collection technologies like Infragram set out to democratize and improve reporting about environmental impacts. By creating a low-cost camera and working with farmers and environmental activists, we hope to explore grassroots uses for this kind of technology.
The Kickstarter project offered a few different versions:
"The name "Infragram" comes from Infrared Photogrammetry, the use of photography to create spacialized and quantified data. When NASA started using this technique on the Landsat satellites in the 1970's and 80's, each camera was custom-built for the purpose. Now, consumer cameras are so advanced that even a five year old point and shoot can generate excellent data with nothing more than a change of the filters and calibration through the Infragram site."-- Mathew Lippincott, Public Lab
The Public Lab community has been building up a knowledge base in DIY infrared imaging for years. To join in, check out these pages:
Currently the Infragram DIY Filter Kit ships with two different filters. This is because our research on which filter works best has evolved over time, but until recently we believed that the #2007 was easier to use because it transmits more light, while the #74 transmits enough to get good results if you are careful with ISO and shutter speed. We think that the #74 should produce a more pure NIR channel.
Learn more at /wiki/comparing-plant-health
Question: Can you calibrate DIY infrared cameras to know the absolute amount of light being measured?
Question: Does an NDVI image tell you how healthy a plant is? No -- not by itself. It may tell you a) what areas of the photo are healthiest, or how healthy plants are in comparison to an equivalently-lit photo of another area of the same type of plant. If you could calibrate the images, you could compare across, or analyze a single image. But most DIY methods are for comparative work only because we don't know exactly how sensitive the camera is between color channels.
=> example images coming
Developed collaboratively by the Public Lab community, it intended for home gardeners, hikers, makers, farmers, amateur scientists, teachers, artists, and anyone curious about the secret lives of plants!
You can order pre-modified webcam or in the Public Lab store, or you can modify a camera yourself with a filter pack. Read more about the Infragram Point & Shoot camera here