Overview of Layers in Lens

For each monitored property, you can choose from a variety of imagery and data layers to understand ground conditions. The data for these layers come from multiple public and private satellite and aerial sources, at both high resolution and high-frequency imagery. High-resolution imagery in Lens is 1.5m and finer and includes 1m data from the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) as well as imagery from commercial vendors. This imagery can be helpful for providing granular detail about areas of interest. High-frequency layers are 10m resolution from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 satellite, but capture data approximately every week depending on cloud coverage to provide an up-to-date picture of how your property is changing.

Map Layers


Truecolor imagery displays ground conditions in a natural color palette, similar to what humans observe, and is captured from public satellites. In Lens, we provide Truecolor imagery layers for public sources, including the USDA's NAIP aerial data and Sentinel-2 satellites.  We also partner with remote sensing data providers including Maxar, Nearmap, Near Space Labs, and Airbus for more options to order true color imagery through Lens. 


Vegetation vigor is a measure of photosynthetic activity, or how much plant growth is occurring. It's derived from the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) using visible and near-infrared reflectance detected by satellite or aerial sensors. Vegetation vigor ranges from 0 to 1, with low values indicating no vegetation present in white or yellow and high values showing areas with vigorous vegetation in dark green. This data provides a reliable way to evaluate vegetation health and changes over time and is derived from public satellite data on a weekly time scale, in the case of Sentinel-2 data, and less frequently for NAIP data.

Surface Water

Surface water is derived from the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) and shows which parts of a property have standing water present. Values range from -0.1 to 0.4, where low values show dry land and higher values in blue show areas with water, such as rivers or ponds. The Surface Water layer is available for high-frequency Sentinel-2 data and high-resolution NAIP data. 

Surface Moisture

The Surface Moisture layer uses infrared and visible spectrum public satellite data to identify moist bare soil and very shallow water. Derived from the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), this layer ranges from -0.6 to 0, where higher values indicate more moisture and saturated bare ground in darker blues, and lower values indicate variations in dry land. The moisture layer is best used in areas with bare ground or minimal vegetation when some context on ground conditions is known. This layer provides more detail on areas that appear dry in the Surface Water layer, such as saturated land in wetland environments. Small and narrow streams or water bodies are also more easily picked up with this layer. In regions where vegetation is blocking a top-down view of the soil or water surface, this Surface Moisture layer will display values indicating no water present. We therefore recommend using the Vegetation layer to assess moisture in vegetated areas, where darker greens indicate plants which are not experiencing water stress. Note that buildings and roads reflect light in a similar way to water, so we recommend that you refer to other layers to ensure that areas appearing blue in this layer are in fact moist, rather than developed. In some cases, shadows may also be present based on the angle the imagery was taken. We recommend taking a look at the Truecolor layer first to get oriented before utilizing this layer.


The snow layer uses the Normalized Difference Snow Index (NDSI) to highlight areas on a property where snow is present. NDSI is calculated from a satellite image‚Äôs green and short-wave infrared bands, using public satellite data inputs to derive a value between 0 and 1. Lower values indicate a lack of snow, while higher values denote areas with snow presence and are shown in white. 

Color Infrared

The near infrared (NIR), red green layer shows infrared data in false colors to for easier interpretation. Check out our support article about our color infrared layers to learn more about this layer and how to utilize it for monitoring.


This layer shows the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) classifications of land cover at 30m resolution and a 16-class legend. The NLCD is developed in partnership by multiple United States Federal agencies and is updated every five years. You can can visualize this public dataset and landcover classifications for properties in Lens but Upstream Tech is not responsible for the accuracy of the classifications.


Overlay data can be provided by Lens customers to visualize other relevant information in Lens, such as building overlays. These can be found in the Layers dropdown menu, and can be hidden or viewed, colors can be customized, and individual feature names are visible on hover.