Drone deploy + Zenmuse XT or X3 for detecting weeds/different plants?

Hi All! First time poster with possible stupid questions.

I"m new to drones and have discovered my workplace has an Inspire 1 and Zenmuse XT and Standard X3.

I’m a ranger who works in the national parks and am hoping to scan large areas that have a mixture of weeds and native plants and to be able to highlight the different plants, e.g. Different colours for each plant species. I’m wondering if the zenmuse xt is the tool for this?

My understanding is (I’m new at this so I may be completely wrong) that ndvi is good only for plant health involving photosynthesis with the 3 bands of colour and infrared. But probably not good for seperating different types of plants? Zenmuse xt and the standard x3 I believe can’t do NDVI.

Zenmuse XT can detect temperature to One tenth of a degree so MAYBE it would be able to seperate the different plants with individual heat signatures (some plants reflect/absorb more heat than others?). With using Radiometric Jpegs stitched through drone deploy?

Please let me know if my understanding is correct/incorrect or if I have totally the wrong camera. I couldn’t find any examples online of people using drones to highlight different species of plants, only examples of uniform crops. So if you know any examples please let me know it would be invaluable to know if its possible.



I haven’t heard of the cameras being used to identify different species of plants. You MIGHT have more success (just speculating) with a multi-spectral camera like Slantrange, but I’m not sure. You might check the sUAS Commercial Mapping Pilots group on Facebook.

Hi Uiriamu,

I fly the Inspire 1 mapping farm fields in the mid-west. Your basic assertion regarding the NDVI and XT camera are correct in that they are best used to detect plant health conditions. With the XT camera coming in last with practitioners.

I would share that the X3 would make a good camera as the RGB images are very high quality and the color differences related to the plants you shared should be visible from a stitched image. The X3 using Drone Deploy will also create plant health map from a false NDVI processing that is at least 80% as good as the NDVI camera images for most applications. With some ground inspections you may be able to also see plant type differences with the plant health models. I know we often can see weed infestations in corn and beans because we have looked at 1000s of images.

I would say the the human application is still your best option. You looking at RGB images followed by ground inspection will provide very good results. The X3 camera is a 4K camera also it will let you zoom in on spots and potentially see the texture or other features that will help you to identify plant types.


Thank you for that reply @Uiriamu.

I would agree 100% with you regarding the X3 RGB camera being a great tool for crop scouting. One thing to mention is that with the RGB camera you would be using the VARI algorithm rather than the NDVI algorithm. You can use the NDVI algorithm with a modified X3 camera such as this one. That being said, with both cameras it is always good practice to ground truth the data.

The XT camera would be more applicable for applications such as soil moisture content or targeting areas where irrigation has malfunctioned in some way.


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