8.2 Multi-Spectral Data Collection

Multi-spectral data is a common need for many utilizing drones in agricultural or environmental research. But in order to get that data, you’ll need to use a specialized camera that is capable of capturing images in multiple spectral bands. This can include visible light, near-infrared (NIR), and shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands. The data obtained from these cameras can then be used to create NDVI and other indices, which can be used to analyze and interpret the health and condition of vegetation.

8.2.1 Multi-Spectral Cameras

RedEdge-P - The RedEdge-P is the newest generation of high-resolution multispectral cameras from AgEagle (formerly Micasense). It has six channels: Blue (475 nm), Green (560 nm), Red (668 nm), RedEdge (717 nm), NIR (842 nm) and a Panchromatic channel (450nm - 900nm). This allows for pan-sharpened output resultions of 2cm. Though a bit pricey at $8k, it’s a great all-around multispectral solution and is compatible with DJI Matrice 300 and other larger drones.

Altum-PT - The Altum-PT is a 3-in-1 solution, capable of RGB, NIR and Thermal data collection. With a slightly higher resolution for RGB/NIR than the RedEdge-P and a faster capture rate, it’s a step up with a heft pricy tag at $15k. Compatible with the DJI Matrice 300 and other larger drones.

MAPIR Survey 3 - A low-cost solution at $700, the Survey 3 is a mini-multispectral that won’t give the greatest results, but is small and light enough to be attached to even the DJI Mavic Series drones. It uses a modified lens on a low-cost camera sensor and requires careful calibration to get usable results.