Enhancing News Coverage with Satellite Imagery Analysis

April 16, 2024

Using satellite imagery is a great competitive advantage for those in the media industry to enhance their news coverage.

Earth observation technology provides an excellent method to monitor areas of interest and detect changes in developing stories. Investigative journalists, in particular, benefit from satellite data as consistent monitoring can be a safe and cost-effective way to follow up on certain leads.

When using satellite data, there are several resolution types and data outputs to choose from, giving news analysts options to monitor a region for long periods of time on a reasonable budget. The best part is that individuals do not have to physically be in these spaces to capture these moments in time.

Satellite imagery is an affordable tool that gives journalists the flexibility and reliability they need for their analysis, whether it’s to monitor remote areas to protect physical safety or to look into the eye of a hurricane for frequent updates.

Here are three ways that media companies use satellite imagery as a competitive advantage.

Visualizing Global Events

Satellite imagery can capture visuals of natural disasters, political conflicts, and environmental changes. Take this example from BAP Intel, a SkyWatch customer who went from a hobbyist to a professional analyst by monitoring the Ukrainian border in 2022. The goal was to capture imagery to detect movement from the Russian government and document any changes. The most common output used to help visualize these global events is true color. The true color is, as the name suggests, an authentic view of that AOI, demonstrating what that point of interest looked like at the time it was captured. By incorporating high-resolution satellite imagery into their analysis, news organizations can provide viewers with a first-hand view of the impact of these events. When looking at comparisons of images captured before and after a global event, the pictures are quite compelling. Satellite imagery can easily enhance stories and verify that the journalists are providing a strong source for their reports.

Updated Imagery

Staying up-to-date on world events is easier when satellite data is at play. When working with an aggregator like SkyWatch, journalists can access historical data and data for a future date. The ability to task an image with a low latency period can be an effective way to stay relevant to new developments. The frequency in which you can monitor an area is ultimately up to your budget, but from a capability standpoint, satellites can be tasked daily and sometimes hourly depending on the provider. Many media customers find this feature valuable when keeping up with the developments of a story.

Data-Driven Reporting

When reporting on more complex topics such as climate change, the ability to use outputs beyond true color can expand a journalist’s analysis. If you were to use an Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) output, for example, to monitor vegetation, it can provide additional data points an optical image wouldn’t be able to demonstrate. This adds a layer of data-driven reporting to journalist narratives, making them more informative and insightful.

SkyWatch’s products also provide an API, making it easy to programmatically collect and analyze data. Analysts or GIS specialists commonly use tools such as ArcGIS Pro by Esri to monitor and analyze data points. If you were to use SkyWatch’s solutions, we’ve developed a partnership with Esri and created an add-in that allows you to purchase SkyWatch imagery through ArcGIS Pro directly, making analysis much simpler for media organizations with geospatial expertise.

Consistent Monitoring

The ability to detect change and monitor areas of interest remotely becomes possible with satellite data.

Resource Optimization

Using the SkyWatch API allows media organizations to efficiently source data for further analysis.

Reliable Sources

Improve the reliability and accuracy of news coverage by ensuring timely captures and accurate attributions.


Satellite imagery analysis is an incredibly effective and versatile tool for media companies to enhance their news coverage. It offers a cost-effective and secure way to monitor areas of interest, detect changes in developing stories, and visualize global events with incredible accuracy and precision. By incorporating satellite data into their analysis, journalists can provide viewers with a first-hand view of the impact of natural disasters, political conflicts, and environmental changes, allowing them to better understand and contextualize complex events.

Furthermore, the ability to access updated imagery and use data-driven reporting tools can broaden a journalist’s analysis, enabling them to identify patterns and trends that might otherwise go unnoticed. This, in turn, can make their reports more informative and insightful, offering a unique perspective on global events and issues. Overall, satellite imagery analysis is a vital tool for media companies looking to stay ahead in the industry, offering a competitive edge that can help them stand out in an increasingly crowded media landscape.

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