Bad 2011 NAIP imagery

Ice Age MarkIce Age Mark Global Mapper UserPosts: 324Trusted User
edited February 2012 in Raster Data

Does anyone have any information on the nature of the bad looking "purple-ish" banding on the new 2011 NAIP imagery (at least in my area, northern Idaho). Another poster mentioned it, and although the USDA NAIP FTP site is down right now, I was able to see an example of this new imagery on Google Earth about 20 miles from my location. This is VERY DISAPPOINTING! I use 2009 NAIP imagery extensively, and have/use every county in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana. I had waited anxiously for the new 2011 data, and was fortunate (I thought) that my region was completed early on (see their status maps).

[I have included a Google Earth "screenshot" with a linear contrast stretch of 1 SD to emphasize the banding. See it yourself with no contrast adjustment on GE at Lat/Long (48-01-00/ -116-49-38). Start at about 17,000' eye altitude. If your state is not released yet, and you are anticipating the new updated imagery, THIS is what you are likely going to get.]

This new imagery is not at all realistic color-wise in the banded areas, making it a poor choice for use at all as compared with the 2009 data (which is quite realistic). I guess this could be a rant, but I can't believe the USDA has done (or accepted) this work! If there was some technical difficulty early on, why proceed to complete many states worth of bad imagery. This is a taxpayer funded project! No private firm would (I think?) produce or accept something like this. If an aerial photogrammetrist sent me color imagery like this, we would end up in court over payment.

GM forum would not normally be the place to discuss this, but for everyone who might use the data released thus far (and presumably the not yet completed states as well) - you are stuck with a sub-standard product for at least 2 years, making it 4 years between acceptable quality imagery dates (assuming they get it right next time). How can the USDA do this to the people (clients) it serves? The reason I discuss it here, is that the GM forum and the new Blue Marble connection represent a large body of NAIP imagery users that could voice their disapproval of this to the USDA. Those who are in the not yet completed states could object to the USDA continuing to proceed in delivering them a sub-standard product, in spite of a significant technical problem.

Anybody else grumped enough to comment, or join me in asking the USDA just what in the world they think could justify this national scale boo-boo at public expense?

Ice Age Mark

p.s. - Mike, please feel free to move this to "chit-chat" if you think it's more appropriate there.


  • global_mapperglobal_mapper Administrator Posts: 17,238
    edited December 2011

    I think this is just as appropriate a place as 'Chit-Chat'. If that is indeed widespread in the new NAIP imagery that would be a big problem. I assume that different contractors are used all over the country to obtain the data, so I wouldn't think it would be widespread.

    What format are you obtaining the imagery in that it is showing this purplish banding? I'm wondering if maybe it's not in the raw data but is instead some kind of weird compression artifact or something.


    Global Mapper Guru
  • Ice Age MarkIce Age Mark Global Mapper User Posts: 324Trusted User
    edited December 2011
    12/21: In thinking more and reacting less, much of my conclusion was based on circumstantial evidence. The post before this one from someone in Louisiana,

    ["Las year I created a wall map that contained 2008 aerial photography. I downloaded the maps with GM & I used the NAIP maps that were availible at that time(pretty sure they were 2008). I'm in the process of creating a new wall map for the company & I wanted to use the same 2008 aerials, due to the fact the 2010 aerials have horrible banding & really don't shine as an overall display map. If anyone has a souce for 2008 aerials or could offer any feedback, it would be appreciated. Thanks, Cade."]

    in combination with bumbling across the new 2011 Google Earth imagery in my area having the same problem, led me to believe it was widespread. I am assuming that GE would have the same data source. I guess it could be possible that something they do to the imagery was causing this; except for Cade's post above.

    Update 12/22: I'm also finding the banding at 30-16-04/-91-03-00 in Louisiana, and at 39-05-26/-107-40-43. (2010 &2011 GE imagery). Additionally, at the second location, individual flight lines show a distinct tone/color change from one side of each image to the other, resulting in a vertical banding/checkerboard effect. In checking 10 more random areas with new 2010 and 2011 NAIP imagery, ALL had similar quality problems. I worked in civil engineering/surveying for three decades and have seen thousands of aerial images. This new stuff from the USDA is junk. 2009 imagery in my region (and everywhere I've looked in the last two years) is excellent, with none of the problems I've described. I guess I'll be continuing to use it for some time now. What happened USDA?

    Anyone out there besides Cade already trying to use this imagery? How is it looking to you?

    Ice Age Mark
  • Ice Age MarkIce Age Mark Global Mapper User Posts: 324Trusted User
    edited December 2011
    I just found this bit of info on 2010 NAIP imagery in Wisconsin;

    [Problems with Wisconsin NAIP leads to reprocessing
    By Jim Lacy
    February 21, 2011

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture Aerial Photography Field Office (APFO) is currently in the process of correcting some color issues with the statewide National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data collected over Wisconsin in 2010. Many users have reported an apparent blue "haze" in the imagery, prompting APFO to work with their contractors to adjust the appearance of the entire dataset.]

    Will it lead to reprocessing everywhere there is a problem? If you have 2010 or 2011 sub-standard NAIP imagery in your area, let the USDA APFO know ASAP that this is not acceptable!

  • jwelterjwelter Global Mapper User Posts: 1
    edited February 2012
    Hi everyone,

    Disclosure: I work for one of the NAIP contractors.

    I do not feel the imagery above is indicative of the products delivered to the USDA. I do know that Google does some post processing to try to create a seamless product that has caused some color issues in the past. (see:

    We should confirm this in the source imagery, from USDA, before we come to conclusions as I know the USDA NAIP program does have fairly stringent specifications and the contracts do their best to exceed those specifications.

    Let me know what I can do to help sort this out.


  • Ice Age MarkIce Age Mark Global Mapper User Posts: 324Trusted User
    edited February 2012
    John and everyone,

    It indeed seems to be the case that Google Earth post-processing was the source of the quality problem with 2011 NAIP imagery in my area. The USDA FTP server was not working correctly for almost 3 weeks during the time I was looking for examples of bad imagery, and so I was checking other locations with Google Earth believing that it was identical to the new 2011 real imagery. This, in combination with another GM user finding problems, and the info I found/posted from the Wisconsin State Cartographers Office, as well as my own findings on GE led me to accept circumstantial evidence as fact. (Apparently though the WSCO did have some problems of identical nature that were corrected.) All subsequent actual NAIP imagery I have received (18 counties in eastern Washington, north Idaho and western Montana) is of excellent quality. I humbly recant, and apologize for any inconvenience or negative insinuation regarding this issue. I would recommend reading the GE BLOG at the link John provided above for some insight into GE image processing.


    Ice Age Mark
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