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I made a copy of an Image that was shared with me as an asset in Google Earth Engine.

I expect the new copy to be identical to the image that was shared. To check that nothing was changed during export, I made a new image that is the difference between my two images, and I expect the result to be an image with uniform zero value.

var original = ee.Image("..."); //shared layer
var copy = ee.Image("...");

var difference = original.subtract(copy)

However, if I add difference to the map, it shows a pattern if I take a look from far away: enter image description here

Inspecting the value of pixels shows values other than zero.

However, the pattern fades away if I zoom in, and I only find zeros if I inspect pixel values. I've added some transparency to the layer in the capture, but you can see that it's a plain grey. enter image description here

Still, if I print the properties of my difference layer, it shows -255 and 255 as min and max values.

I think this is something about how GEE works with pyramids or pixel representation at different zoom scales. Indeed, the original and copy layers also look a bit different from the distance, but they look the same from close distance:

original

enter image description here

copy

enter image description here

I'll zoom in to the island where the arrow points

original

enter image description here

copy

copy

Can I trust that the two layers are identical in their values and their difference is zero for every pixel?

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  • I've seen this too and haven't found a trivial solution. An exhaustive one would be to run reduceRegions with an appropriate reducer on the difference image over a large area, but that takes time. Another thing to check are the image properties. Are the dimensions the same? Are the transform values the same? Sep 4, 2020 at 15:48
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    try to add the difference layer to the map reprojected to the orignal image projection. var proj = original.projection() and then Map.addLayer(difference.reproject(proj)....). If that works I post it as an answer Sep 5, 2020 at 11:58
  • Rodrigo, that didn't do the trick. I see where you are going, but I checked and the projections where the same before comparing them. Thanks for the suggestion thought! Sep 9, 2020 at 12:50
  • I have explored them further and, looking closely, the difference seems to be zero elsewhere. So I think it's a problem with how are piramids calculated. They are probably calculated in different ways, and that gives differences at other scales. Sep 9, 2020 at 12:50

1 Answer 1

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Why don't you just do a frequency histogram of the values in your "difference image", over your region of interest? You should only find 0 values.

Such test would not be dependent on projection, though could eventually be dependent on the scale argument, facing the trade-off of faster (coarse scale to avoid the max pixel issue) versus precision (fine scale).

var checkit2 = difference.reduceRegion({
  reducer: ee.Reducer.frequencyHistogram(),
  geometry: ageometry,
  scale: 1000
})

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