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How to make Vegetation/Forest Cover Map in ArcGIS | NDVI

ArcGIS is a multipurpose Map generating software. The students and researchers usually finds ArcGIS more compatible as their needs. With the help of ArcGIS we can generate Vegetation/Forest cover map (NDVI map). Today we are going to discuss about how to generate NDVI maps on ArcGIS.


Make Vegetation/Forest Cover Map

From the Red(R) and near infra-red(PIR) band are used to construct The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The NDVI us used to determine the greenness of vegetable and their overall health.

NDVI Calculation Equation:


For Landsat 8,


For Landsat 4-7,


Steps to follow for making NDVI map:

  1. Download Landsat 8 map data. Map Link
  2. Open ArcGIS
  3. Load Band 4 (b4) and Band 5 (b5) imagery files.
  4. Open Raster Calculator. (Arc Toolbox>Spatial analysis tools>Map Algebra>Raster Calculator) 
  5. Follow The NDVI formula of Landsat 8
  6. Save the new layer as NDVI
  7. Go to Symbology of the NDVI layer
  8. Set ‘Classified’
  9. Set the class into 4
  10. Classify the break values as (0, 0.15, 0.3, 1) and set the level as (water, soil, shrubs, Healthy Vegetation)
  11. Generate Map.

 NDVI map making

After downloading the map you have to load the needed band data. For Landsat 8, Band 4 & 5. For Landsat 4-7, band 3 and 4. After loading the data you will go to the raster calculator and apply the formulas. In raster calculator you have to take float values. In order to doing that you will apply the formula in float tag. Just like  the picture: 

NDVI map
Raster Calculator


Then save the output with the name NDVI. Now You have to give a proper color to the map for better hierarchy. Go to symbology then classify. On there set the class value as 4. Classify the break values as (0, 0.15, 0.3, 1) and set the level as (water, soil, shrubs, Healthy Vegetation) such as this picture:

break value of Map for legends
NDVI break value of Map

Now you are all set to export the map. But before exporting you can insert Legends, Neat line and other stuffs to make it look better. You can also clip your area of interest from the NDVI map. See how to clip raster



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