Get started in Lens

Last updated: July 31, 2023
Apr 17, 2023
Table of contents

Welcome to Lens! We're excited to be working with you. Lens is an intuitive tool, and we're here to help you get the most out of your subscription. This article will serve as a guide to get you up and running, pulling from the support articles found in our comprehensive Knowledge Base. As you scroll, click on underlined text to navigate to the relevant support doc where you can find more details.

1. Add Your Team

Invite users to your organization in the team settings

Navigate to the settings menu, where you'll see a button to invite other users to your account. Choose the permission level you'd like each user to have. User settings can always be configured by Admin users from the Team list.

2. Add Properties

Create a new portfolio with uploaded or drawn properties

Adding properties into Lens is simple, whether you're adding them to a new or existing portfolio. Either upload a file, or draw the boundaries you'd like to add.

Before confirming the upload, you can select a name attribute and edit the property names.

Once you click Confirm, the properties will be added to the portfolio and will begin processing imagery. You'll get an email when you're all set.

For information about file types and projection requirements, check out our article here.

3. Order Imagery

Preview and order high-resolution commercial imagery

Lens pulls in high-resolution commercial images from a variety of sources. The frequency, timing, and spatial resolution of these sources vary, giving you the ability to order and pay for imagery that meets your needs.

Open the Order pane to see all available images for your property. You might want to choose the most recently captured image to get an up-to-date understanding of property conditions, for example, or one captured in the late fall for leaf-off imagery that allows you to see what’s happening under the canopy more clearly.

Consider which images meet your seasonal, budget, and resolution needs. Check out our support doc for more suggestions on choosing the right image to order.

Preview an image to take a closer look to determine if it will meet your needs. Make sure there's no cloud coverage or other issues.

The image resolution you'll need greatly depends on what you're hoping to see. Detailed observations such as ATV tracks may require sub-meter imagery, whereas large forestry activity can be observed from lower resolution images.

After ordering, an image will take about 15-20 minutes to process. Once it's all set, you'll receive an email. You'll find the processed image in the Date dropdown, as well as all other commercial and public truecolor imagery available to you.

4. Explore the Lens Library

Explore available layers and add them to your portfolios

The Lens Library is where you can choose the layers and overlays that you would like to display in Lens. From here, you can add or hide public and commercial imagery sources.

By default, we will display several layers. By selecting the options that are most relevant to your organization and hiding the others, your team will enjoy a simpler interface while monitoring.

Click here to check out your Lens Library once you've made an account, or read more in our support doc.

5. Create Notes

Once you have your imagery, click around and see if anything is appearing differently than you'd expect. Once you find an area of change or something you'd like to annotate, you can create a note that will include the relevant location and the imagery you're viewing.

Create a polygon note in Lens

Once you create a note, it will be added to the sidepane where you'll see observations saved by your colleagues. You can also attach a photo to your note if you have documentation from a field visit to supplement the remote data.

6. Compare Images

Compare an area of interest across two dates

When it comes to detecting changes over time, comparing two images is always better than looking at one. In Lens you can use Compare Mode, which allows you to compare two images side-by-side.

Compare mode enables you to see how an area of interest has changed from one date to another. You can select two dates on the top bar and drag the slider across the images to see areas where changes might have occurred.

In the example on the right, a note is being saved to document forestry activity that was observed when comparing against a baseline image.

Once you create and save a note, it will reference both images that you were viewing.

7. Analyze Areas

Truecolor imagery is great for monitoring properties at a glance, but satellites collect lots of data that we can't see with our naked eye. With Lens, that data can be synthesized to shed light on ground conditions.

Use the Analyze Area tool to find significant events, such as the date of a timber cut

The Analyze Area tool allows you to easily visualize seasonal patterns and year-over-year changes in ecological conditions. The tool uses high-frequency Sentinel-2 data that comes into Lens every 5 days or so, making it a great way to narrow down the time window of when a particular change has happened.

On the right, Analyze Area is being used to narrow down the time window of when forestry work occurred. Once that date range is determined, commercial imagery could be ordered to spot equipment and associated impacts.

The Analyze Area tool can be used to evaluate trends in vegetation, water, and other data layers offered in Lens.

8. View Index Layers

Explore quantifiable remote sensing data with index layers

Along with the red, green, and blue bands used to create the truecolor layers, we also pull other bands from our public imagery sources. We call these Index Layers, and they can show vegetation vigor, surface water, surface moisture, and snow.

These layers are available on a weekly time scale, in the case of Sentinel-2 data, and less frequently for NAIP data. Keep in mind that NAIP imagery only covers the United States.

You can view Index Layers in compare mode, which is a great way to see changes in ground conditions at a glance. When monitoring for forestry activity, cleared areas may show a decrease in green color values to correspond with the drop in photosynthetic activity. Monitoring a beaver restoration area may show higher levels of surface moisture as the hydrology of an area changes. These observations can be saved as notes for documenting and reporting.

9. Generate Reports

Ready to export your notes and imagery out of Lens and into a monitoring report? It's as simple as a click of a button. Just click "Report" at the top of the Notes pane, which will open up a report builder in a new window. You can customize the text, sequencing of pages, and images displayed. When you're all set, you can export as a PDF or print. See our support article here for more information.

What Next?

Hop into Lens and start exploring! You can't break anything, so click around and start checking out your areas of interest.

As questions come up, our Knowledge Base has all of the answers you're looking for. From the Portfolio Overview page, you can open the help beacon to get quick answers to your questions. Or, you can click "Help" in the top right corner and navigate to our support docs from there.

If you aren't finding the answers to your questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Happy monitoring and welcome to Lens!

Learn more in our Knowledge Base