Frequently Asked Questions

What crops do you support?

Ceres Imaging got its start in the tree nuts industry. We have since expanded our horizons and can serve growers of a variety of agricultural crops including vineyards, corn, soy, citrus trees, cotton, vegetables, berries, and rice.

Where do you operate?

We currently operate primarily in California, the U.S. Midwest, Hawaii, and Australia and can 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 primarily fly fields in a four-hour window centered on solar noon. During this time the sun is at the highest and the orchard is under the most stress, which assures high-quality imagery.

What is the imagery resolution?

Our resolution is 0.2 – 1 meters 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 light spectrum to far infrared light. Depending on the kind of imagery package you request, we can capture up to six different ranges of wavelengths of the light spectrum at once.

We are different from competitors because we capture  imagery using a custom-built set of multiple high-quality sensors.

How many images are taken in a typical 160-acre field?

Our systems capture hundreds of images and create 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. We'll work with you to schedule flights on the ideal days you need for your farm management.

What imagery packages do you offer?

Our imagery packages are built to fit your particular needs. Our packages include weekly, monthly, and custom flight frequency options, and include views such as our Water Stress tool, which shows variable plant health in far greater detail than traditional NDVI imagery.  

What is a Water Stress image?

Water Stress images measure plant transpiration, which also correlates to pressure bomb readings or stem water potential (SWP). It's a different type of imagery than traditional NDVI images which measure near infrared and visible light to estimate canopy vigor. NDVI images typically change slowly over time.

The UC Cooperative Extension has worked closely 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


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.

Our Core Thermal imagery is helpful in detecting pest and disease in corn, soybeans, and other crops sooner than other imagery providers and weeks before the naked eye.

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?

Color images (RGB) like those you see on Google Earth aren't our most popular product, but you can add them 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 acre. You choose how many of each image product is needed for a season, at the interval that works best for your decision-making needs.