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An ArcGIS Pro workflow to extract vegetation indices from aerial imagery of small‐plot turfgrass research


Wilber, Amy; Czarnecki, Joby M.P.; McCurdy, James D. (2023), An ArcGIS Pro workflow to extract vegetation indices from aerial imagery of small‐plot turfgrass research, Dryad, Dataset,


Collection of multispectral imagery from an aerial sensor is a means to obtain plot-level vegetation index (VI) values; however, post-capture image processing and analysis remain a challenge for small-plot researchers. An ArcGIS Pro workflow of two task items was developed with established routines and commands to extract plot-level VI values (Normalized Difference VI, Ratio VI, and Chlorophyll Index-Red Edge) from multispectral aerial imagery of small-plot turfgrass experiments. Users can access and download task item(s) from the ArcGIS Online platform for use in ArcGIS Pro. The workflow standardizes the processing of aerial imagery to ensure repeatability between sampling dates and across site locations. A guided workflow saves time with assigned commands, ultimately allowing users to obtain a table with plot descriptions and index values within a .csv file for statistical analysis. The workflow was used to analyze aerial imagery from a small-plot turfgrass research study evaluating herbicide effects on St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze] grow-in. To compare methods, index values were extracted from the same aerial imagery by TurfScout, LLC and were obtained by handheld sensor. Index values from the three methods were correlated with visual percentage cover to determine the sensitivity (i.e., the ability to detect differences) of the different methodologies.


The original images were collected on a MicaSense RedEdge MX sensor mounted on a Matrice 100 quadcopter. Images were mosaiced in Pix4D. The band-specific mosaics were layered to create a single orthomosaic in ArcGIS Pro.

Usage Notes

This orthomosaic can be used to practice using the ArcGIS Pro workflow to create plots and extract vegetation indices.