Frequently Asked Questions

What crops do you support?

Ceres Imaging got its start in the tree nuts industry. We have since expanded our horizon and are able to accommodate a variety of agricultural crops including grape vineyards, citrus trees, cotton, corn, berries, and rice.

Where do you operate?

We currently operate primarily in California, Hawaii, Midwest USA, and Australia but are able to expand quickly with our scalable flight platform.

How do you capture images? Do you use drones?

We do NOT use drones. When Ceres Imaging first started, we experimented with drones and found that they could not cover the area that an aircraft could in the same amount of time. Drones are not able to withstand much of a payload capacity which is needed for our camera systems. Additionally, more personnel would be needed in the field to maintain and move drones from site to site.

When do you fly over the fields?

We fly fields in a four hour window from solar noon. During this time the sun is at the highest and covering the most canopy. This is when the orchard is under the most stress and makes for high quality imagery.

What is the imagery resolution?

Our resolution is 0.2 – 1 meter per pixel, depending on the crop and application.

What wavelengths of light do your cameras use?

Our cameras take images at multiple wavelengths ranging from the Visible to the Far Infrared light spectrum. Depending on the kind of imagery package you request we can take up to 6 different wavelengths of the light spectrum at once.

We are different in the fact that we take our imagery using multiple cameras, each capturing data from a different part of the light spectrum, ranging from the visible to far-infrared wavelength.

How many images are taken in a typical 160 Acre field?

Our systems capture hundreds of images and the individual frames in order to make a seamless mosaic of your field.

What is the turnaround time for the imagery?

Depending on the imagery you request for your field we typically have a turnaround time of 24-72 hours for a first time flyover. Our current standard with existing customers is ~24 hours.

What imagery packages do you offer?

We tailor our imagery packages to fit your particular needs. Our packages include weekly, monthly, and custom options.

What is a water stress image?

A water stress image measures plant transpiration, which is correlated to pressure bomb readings or stem water potential (SWP). The UC Cooperative Extension has been working very close with us to validate our findings:


“For the past two years Ceres Imaging has collaborated with UC Cooperative Extension and Blake Sanden on a very data-intensive almond water use (ET) trial. This mutual collaboration has provided UCCE and the almond industry with whole orchard comprehensive data that would be impossible to collect from the ground. In turn, individual tree and plot ground data collected by UCCE researchers has been used by Ceres to verify and improve their calculation of crop water status.”


-UC Cooperative Extension, 2015

NDVI Imagery on the other hand measures near infrared and visible light to estimate canopy vigor. NDVI images typically change slowly over time.

What other types of imagery do you offer?

We offer a Chlorophyll Imagery package which is good for influencing nutrient decisions. For example, the image can be used for precision tissue sampling and precision fertilizer applications. Our chlorophyll imagery has been validated in the UCCE Kern County Almond Trials.
We also have a Tree Counting Imagery package. Since our imagery is of such high resolution, we have developed a software algorithm to tally every tree in a field, account for any missing trees, as well as immature trees, and provide those results to you.

Do you do color photo images?

We normally do not do color images (RBG images) as you might see on Google Earth, but you can add this as a special request.

Does your processed imagery take into account the soil that is seen from overhead?

During our image processing we have developed techniques to eliminate or lessen background interference. This helps by removing contaminates such as soil and shadows to produce a better quality image.

After I get the images, then what?

After we have processed and delivered your imagery, our staff will help you by pinpointing issues that may be detected in your images. We have a team of imagery specialists and agronomists to evaluate what might be happening in your fields. They have the experience to identify any issues that stand out: they will mark locations of interest, and provide an explanation. If further ground truthing is required, we will send our agronomists in the field to try and identify the issue and come up with a remedy. You can always call or email our specialists anytime to answer your questions. At the end of the year we can also provide a return on investment (ROI), to show you that we are a valuable asset.

How do you charge for the imagery?

We charge per image per acre. They can choose how many of each image product they would like in a season, at the interval that works best for your decision-making needs.

How big does my field need to be to get value out of aerial imagery?

Because we charge per image per acre, you can get value out of even a small field.