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Taking a Look from Above

Touch the Soil News #849 (Feature photo – Hyperspectral Imaging – NASA photo)

Ever heard of Ceres Imaging? Probably not. This small company has developed and improved aerial spectral imagery. Through the use of fixed wing aircraft, specialized cameras scan over agricultural fields. The equipment is so sensitive it picks up stresses in plants due to water or lack of nutrients before even a trained expert can find it on the ground. The images reveal highly accurate real-time information of the water and nutrient status of every plant in a field.

Located in Oakland, California, the company offers the following services:

  1. Translating canopy temperatures into a water stress metric.
  2. Determine the chlorophyll content of plants.
  3. Determine canopy vigor of the field.
  4. Thermal imaging to understand temperatures.
  5. Accurate counting of plants – accurate count of trees in an orchard.
  6. Change-over-time analytics.


The company serves customers from California to the Midwest, to Hawaii and Australia. The company boasts that some customers, with the imaging information, have been able to increase yields by 25 percent and cover the cost of imaging by 30 times.

The company’s growth has been fueled in part by its success at attracting venture capital up to a total of $10.5 million thus far.

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