With the ever-increasing need for remotely sensed imagery data in agriculture, SkyWatch Space Applications Inc. (SkyWatch) has formed a unique joint program with AgIntegrated Inc. (AGI). SkyWatch is on a mission to make Earth observation data more accessible to companies and developers.
This alliance means that AgIntegrated will become the premier collaborator of SkyWatch when it comes to agricultural-based integrations due to AGI’s many years and experience with agnostic API development for the precision ag industry and beyond. “When we met with SkyWatch, we learned how similar our business models were and it just made sense to work together to help solve some of the many challenges that have plagued agriculture when it comes to getting imagery data,” says Mike Santostefeno of AGI.
What makes SkyWatch unique is that it solves a long-standing problem when it comes to getting imagery data from multiple satellite sources. They do this by eliminating large minimum data purchases from sources for end-clients, allowing SkyWatch’s clients to buy just the Area of Interest (AOI) they want as small as 0.1 km2. SkyWatch also allows its clients to task high-resolution satellite data for the future as well as request archival data from previous satellite data collections.
Currently, SkyWatch connects to ESA, NASA/USGS, Planet, SIIS, Space View, and 21AT, with new providers added soon. This data covers all resolutions needed for Ag from sub-meter to 10m and higher. Graham Stickler, SkyWatch’s Chief Marketing Officer, mentions, “We’ve tried to stay agnostic in our approach of helping others connect to multiple providers in the simplest way possible. We also are not agriculture experts nor want to be. Talking with AGI, it was clear we should work together as they had robust experience and connections in the entire Ag industry.”
The Ag industry has struggled connecting with satellite imagery providers due to many factors such as price, access, and availability. Before, an Ag business would have to purchase large orders from the imagery sources upfront in certain areas of interest and try to re-sell it or derive new value from it with no guarantee the grower or other end-client would even want it or could use it. Beyond that, getting this data and organizing it was a large issue while connecting via APIs has only just started to become possible within the Earth Observation industry. Other issues also revolve around how imagery is distributed and analyzed for the Ag industry itself. With this collaboration, both groups believe that they can help solve all of these problems.
AgIntegrated will connect to SkyWatch’s EarthCache™ API through its Field Data Exchange, which already hosts multiple other Ag-related APIs such as MyJD, Climate Fieldview, AgLeader, Farmobile, AGCO, CNH, CLAAS, Stara, AgBridge, Raven, Valley Irrigation, and more to come. AGI’s plan is to create a robust Data Exchange marketplace for the many sectors of Ag beyond the current machinery- and hardware-based connections it has currently. Imagery will be the newest focus with the Skywatch connection but, in time, will also connect with others like aerial and drone providers as well as groups that deal specifically with data analytics.
Altogether, AGI and SkyWatch are working together to bring easier and cheaper access to satellite imagery to the Ag industry in a way that brings other added value to FMIS (Farm Management Information Systems) groups via AGI’s Data Exchange. “What we DO NOT want to do on either end is interrupt each other’s business models and so we really see this collaboration as a pass-through process between each other by not changing much technically how others connect to SkyWatch EarthCache™ while also adhering to their same pricing and licensing. We aren’t adding on anything extra beyond the ability to connect to others in Ag all in one API to help reduce development time and costs,” says Nathan Faleide – Strategic Initiatives Manager for AGI.
Going forward, SkyWatch will be recommending any Ag-based clients interested in their EarthCache system toward AgIntegrated to better facilitate data service and support around its imagery distribution services. Overall, both parties’ plans will be working together and with other partners in the Earth observation and Ag industries to create the best and most efficient way to access remotely sensed data for agriculture.