When i open NDVI image in ENVI, its value is still within the range (-1 to 1).

But when I open this NDVI image in ERDAS and ArcGIS Desktop, its value is 0-255.

What does it mean?

Is the NDVI image some problem?

  • Do the negative NDVI values in ENVI correspond to ERDAS/ArcGIS values in the range 128..255?
    – whuber
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 14:13

3 Answers 3


Depending on the method you used to generate this NDVI, it may be that ArcGIS and ERDAS make a normalization of their data by comparing the range of -1 to 1 for 0 to 255 so that its value to become integer and not floating. But you must know how NDVI was generated.


NDVI ranges from (theoretically) -1.0 to +1.0. If you got data ranging from 0..255 then you have data to 8 bit integer which need to be correctly rescaled to -1.0..+1.0 based on the related metadata.


The VI Calculator by default applies a biophysical mask to values that are unreasonable. It is likely that the atmospherically corrected data has some values that are outside a reasonable range (because some pixels are not modelled well) and thus return unreasonable NDVI values. These should be masked.

  • 1
    Are you suggesting that some values in the range [-1,1] are invalid for NDVI?
    – whuber
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 14:13

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