Use alerts in Lens

Last updated: December 11, 2023
May 10, 2023
Table of contents

Knowing when and where unexpected changes occur is a common reason many organizations use Lens, and a great application of remote sensing data. Spotting discrepancies in data over time provides you with timely insights to inform action, such as reaching out to a landowner, sending stewardship staff to the field, and more. 

Lens makes it easy to visually spot changes in vegetation vigor by helping you compare recent imagery side-by-side or viewed in a time-series chart. And with the addition of Regrid’s parcel data overlay, checking ownership information is simple, too. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a second set of eyes on your properties year-round, checking for changes in vegetation cover and ownership? With Lens Alerts, you can rest assured that your properties will be monitored for changes even when you’re away from the screen.

Vegetation Alerts 

When an unseasonal vegetation loss event occurs, time is of the essence. Vegetation alerts allow you to passively monitor your properties for significant drops in vegetation vigor. Storm damage, disease, land management activities, and more - we’ll make sure you are notified and can respond swiftly. 

Vegetation Alerts identify areas where a significant decrease in vegetation vigor has occurred compared to the same period in prior years. Our system takes a customized approach based on the typical levels and seasonal trends on each property throughout the year. If a significant decrease in vegetation vigor persists for three or more Sentinel-2 sensings, you will receive an alert showing the location and timing of the potential change. Due to the high-frequency of Sentinel-2 sensings, you can be alerted to disturbances that happened as recently as 15 days prior. 

When to Use

A year-round view: 

During my years as a field monitor, I found Vegetation Alerts to be a useful complement to field visits. On one occasion, a landowner cleared an area shortly after my annual field visit. Without Vegetation Alerts, that disturbance would have gone unnoticed for at least a year. Having a year-round second set of eyes allowed us to intercept the management issue before it worsened. 

New landowner engagement: 

For properties with new landowners, I’d often enroll those properties in Alerts to keep a closer eye on new management practices.

Large landscapes and less-accessible properties:

For organizations monitoring large tracts of land for changes in forest cover, Vegetation Alerts can help monitor a large site that would be impossible to fully traverse on the ground. I would especially rely on Vegetation Alerts to help monitor properties that were less accessible due to terrain, distance from the office, or landowner sensitivities. 

Peace of mind:

Even for smaller properties or those that are accessible, enrolling your properties in Vegetation Alerts ensures that if significant clearing is done, you’ll know about it. 

When Vegetation Alerts are less useful

Vegetation Alerts may not be ideal on properties where frequent management is occurring and past seasonal vegetation trends are not a reliable baseline, such as farmland or sites where restoration interventions are occurring. We will only alert you of activities occurring within your property boundaries, so keep in mind that you won't be alerted about activities on in the buffer area surrounding your property.

Parcel Owner Alerts 

During my years as a conservation easement steward, I’d spend weeks manually checking ownership information in outdated county assessor sites. With Parcel Owner Alerts, those days are over.

Lens Parcel Owner Alerts are designed to help you respond swiftly if ownership changes on a tax parcel that overlaps a property in Lens. For enrolled properties, we’ll check for any changes at the start of each quarter, and create a new alert with details on the new owner for each tax parcel, as well as sale date if available. When we have data from Regrid about the prior owner, we’ll include that in the Alert as well. 

Once you enroll in Parcel Owner Alerts, we collect baseline ownership data for three months before checking for ownership changes quarterly. In case your property boundaries don't align perfectly with tax parcels, we filter out parcels that barely overlap your property. Parcel data is only available in the continental United States, and this alert will not be visible for customers monitoring international properties in Lens.

When to Use

A year-round eye on ownership changes: 

Similar to field monitoring, checking for changes in ownership may happen only once a year at best. Parcel Owner Alerts check your properties for changes quarterly, minimizing the amount of time that might elapse before reaching out to a new landowner.

Fulfill a common stewardship obligation: 

For customers monitoring sites owned by others, tracking property ownership is a common yet laborious stewardship obligation. Parcel Alerts makes it easy to check for changes in ownership without consuming the time of your stewardship team.

Increase field visit safety:

Contacting landowners prior to a stewardship visit is an essential part of field safety. With Parcel Owner Alerts, you have another tool to identify properties that have changed hands since your last field visit.

Proactive Landowner Engagement:

Knowing your landowners is a first step in proactive landowner engagement and creating strong relationships with conservation partners. Parcel Owner Alerts help you identify new landowners to reach out to, and confirm when ownership remains unchanged. 

When Parcel Owner Alerts are less useful

Parcel Owner Alerts are less useful when you’re monitoring lands that you own (like fee properties), as you’re less likely to see any changes in ownership.

Enrolling Properties in Alerts

To enroll an individual property in Vegetation or Parcel Owner Alerts, you can navigate to the Alerts pane on the left side of the screen. This is also where you will find any new alerts.

You can enroll multiple properties into Alerts by selecting them from the Property Overview page and navigating to the Alerts dropdown. From here you can enroll multiple properties in Vegetation and Parcel Owner Alerts.

Want to learn more details about Vegetation and Parcel Owner Alerts? See our support docs here (Vegetation Alerts, Parcel Owner Alerts), or reach out to us at with any questions.