Below are some frequently asked questions about ENVI. If you have a question that isn’t addressed, just email us.

ENVI is the premier image processing and analysis software used worldwide by GIS professionals, remote sensing scientists, image analysts, and many others.

ENVI allows you to extract meaningful information from geospatial imagery to make better decisions. It works with all types of imagery and data such as hyperspectral, multispectral, thermal, LiDAR and SAR. An intuitive, customizable interface means it can be used by anyone to get expert-level results, regardless of prior experience with remotely sensed data and imagery. ENVI works with any size dataset on the desktop or in the cloud.

ENVI is an acronym that at one time stood for the “Environment for Visualizing Imagery.” ENVI software has evolved over the years and now does much more than visualize imagery.

No, ENVI can be deployed on the desktop, in the cloud, or in an enterprise environment. In addition, L3Harris Geospatial develops enterprise solutions to meet the specific needs of individual organizations. This could include deploying a solution to your infrastructure, hosting a cloud solution, providing compute power behind the scenes, or architecting a solution that includes imagery and workflows.

ENVI is scientifically-proven software that extracts meaningful information from geospatial data. ENVI was initially developed by remote sensing scientists at the University of Colorado to produce the most accurate results.

ENVI is beneficial for everyone from entry level analysts to domain experts. While ENVI has a strong scientific foundation, anyone can use it to produce accurate remote sensing products. ENVI contains many easy-to-use tools that don’t require advanced training and education in remote sensing to get actionable results. There is also a wide range of training options for users in addition to tech support for customers current on maintenance.

If you’re new to ENVI or have used ENVI Classic in the past and want to learn the newer user interface, a Getting Started with ENVI Tutorial provides a comprehensive introduction. The tutorial is a walk through on how to display and navigate imagery, analyze raster data, create presentations, and more. We also offer online, remote, over the shoulder and instructor led training with remote sensing experts.

ENVI is written in IDL®, a modern programming language that provides the ability to extend or customize ENVI features and functionality. If you aren’t a programmer, the ENVI Modeler is a visual programming tool that makes it easy to perform batch processing and easily create custom image processing workflows without having to write a single line of code. You can share models and other customizations with other ENVI users.

Below is a list of a few of ENVI’s most popular tools based on specific analysis goals. This is not a complete list of all the things you can do in ENVI but rather some suggested starting points for common applications in remote sensing.

Tip: Most of ENVI's data processing tools are available in the Toolbox, located on the right side of the application. Options for viewing data and plots are provided in the ENVI menu bar. Even more tools are available by using the Run Task tool.

  • Read the vast number of satellite image formats
  • Access online data
  • Visualize and explore images
  • Prepare images for analysis
  • Calibration and atmospheric correction
  • Remove haze
  • Transform data to highlight dominant features
  • Mask out unwanted features
  • Create spectral and spatial subsets of data
  • Pan-sharpen images
  • Mosaic images
  • Analyze images
  • Extract features from images
  • Find specific materials in images
  • Compare images from different dates
  • Compare multiple images over time
  • Study vegetation health
  • Analyze the shape of terrain
  • Process point cloud data
  • Analyze SAR data
  • Get mathematical information from images
  • Plot image data
  • View image statistics
  • Overlay images on a map
  • Create presentations
  • Perform batch processing with data

The ENVI Extension Wizard allows you to create an IDL project that can be added as a custom extension to ENVI. Custom ENVI extensions will appear in the ENVI Toolbox. Here are the steps to build an ENVI extension.

Our GitHub site features free tools that can enhance the development of your automated workflows and provide accelerated access to new algorithms.

Remote sensing offers an efficient way to estimate vegetation properties (including soil that grows vegetation) over large geographic areas. You can use spectral vegetation indices (VIs) calculated in ENVI to analyze vegetation and soil properties. Learn more.

ROIs are selected samples of a raster, such as areas of water, that are identified for a particular purpose. You can use ROIs for processing in some ENVI tools, such as classifications. To create or manage ROIs click the Region of Interest (ROI) Tool button on the toolbar. When you define an ROI, you specify the pixels of an image that will be in or out of the ROI. ENVI performs a real-time orthorectification for ROI layers created on top of an RPC image. The ROI layers are projected layers that display on top of an existing RPC image without reprojecting the RPC image.

Before downloading, make sure your system meets the following requirements:

Operating systems:

Windows 10 and 11 (Intel/AMD 64-bit)

macOS 10.14, 10.15 (Intel 64-bit), 11, and 12 (M1 and Intel 64-bit)

Linux (Intel/AMD 64-bit, kernel 3.10.0 or higher, glibc 2.17 or higher)

Disk space: Approximately 4 GB for installation

Memory (RAM): Minimum of 8 GB

Number of processing cores: Minimum of 2, recommended 4 or more

Graphics card: Minimum of 1 GB RAM and support for OpenGL 2.0 or later

Start ENVI as follows:

Windows: From the Windows Start menu, select ENVI x.x.x > ENVI x.x.x, where x.x.x is the version number. A 32-bit option is also available if you will be using certain Esri features within ENVI. These features require ENVI to run in 32-bit mode. See the Feature Support topic for details.

Linux: Type envi_rt at the shell prompt.

Mac: In the Finder window, go to the ENVI installation directory and double-click ENVI x.x.x.

Display the ENVI Help as follows:

Windows: Select Help > Contents from the ENVI menu bar.

Linux: Type envihelp at the shell prompt. Or, select Help > Contents from the ENVI menu bar.

Mac: In the Finder window, go the ENVI installation directory and double-click ENVI x.x Help. Or, select Help > Contents from the ENVI menu bar.

ENVI supports all of the latest data collection platforms (satellites, airborne, drone, terrestrial), more than 200 different types of data, and different modalities including panchromatic, multi and hyperspectral, LiDAR, SAR and FMV. ENVI works with any size data set and has automated tools to quickly and easily prepare big and small imagery for viewing and further analysis.

ENVI is a standalone commercial off-the-shelf software used across industries and around the world. Additional ENVI Modules (Deep Learning, SARscape, Atmospheric Correction, Feature Extraction, Crop Science, Photogrammetry, NITF, DEM Extraction) enable users to quickly and easily perform highly-specialized tasks that require advanced image analysis tools.

ENVI is not open-source technology, however, there are a community of developers that create ENVI+IDL applications that use open-source code. Check out this webinar to learn more.

Yes. ENVI tasks are exposed through a client library, ENVI Py, which lets users access ENVI processing tools directly from ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro.

ENVI software is tightly integrated with the ArcGIS platform and lets GIS users seamlessly access and analyze imagery to solve critical problems with confidence. ENVI analytics can be accessed from within any ArcGIS environment and results can be displayed directly from ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap or via ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS is known as the vector GIS platform of choice while ENVI is known as the remote sensing platform of choice.

ENVI software has flexible licensing options based on your organizations needs e.g., how many people will be using the software, academic status, and if you need desktop or enterprise deployment. Single licenses of ENVI are available as are term licensing options. Reach out to us to discuss which options are right for you and we can get you a quote.

There is not a free version of ENVI, however, there are term licenses for shorter term projects. Talk to your account manager to discuss the best option based on your needs.

ENVI, the industry standard software for image processing and analysis is owned by L3Harris Technologies.

Yes. Our Solutions Delivery team can develop tools, algorithms, automate, enterprise enable, or simply provide you with results to your problem. They can be engaged on a time and materials or firm fixed price basis.

Do you have a question about anything referenced on this page or something that wasn’t asked? Just email us.