Why Buying Satellite Imagery Used to Be So Hard

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Earth observation is the process of collecting and acquiring physical, chemical, and biological information about Earth via remote sensing devices such as satellites.

In this blog, we explain how satellites are equipped with sophisticated sensors that can detect radiation that appears invisible to the human eye. Then, GIS professionals can use different techniques to extract insights from the image composite.

For example: You could use satellite images to visually inspect a crop field and also collect data that can be used to assess plant health, soil moisture, and vegetation growth.

Today, many industries leverage satellite images and Earth observation data. Civil engineering, oil & gas, insurance, and mining are just a few of them.

Challenges of Buying Satellite Data

Unfortunately, buying Earth observation data has been nowhere near as easy as it should be. There are a few reasons for that:

Prohibitive Pricing

Prices are high and reflect a time when sending satellites into space used to be 10x more expensive than today’s reality. On top of that, the incumbents in the market have minimum requirements for area size and volume commitment. Their conditions are not favorable for companies that don’t have a large budget or want to test the data before getting locked on a contract.  

Lengthy Sales Process

With some data providers, their sales process can take up to 6 weeks from the data agreement to the data delivery. In part, that happens because satellite imagery started as a technology accessible only by governments and the military, and they operate at a different speed than most enterprises. Although commercial usage of satellites is booming, this type of customer is often treated as an afterthought. 

Data Availability

Let’s say that you can afford to buy expensive satellite data the old-fashioned way—FTP, yikes! Perhaps you also don’t mind the long sales cycle. There’s still a big issue you need to worry about. If the satellite constellations owned by your data provider don’t meet your requirements for resolution, revisit rate, delivery speed, and regions covered, you’ll have to look elsewhere. It’s the equivalent of doing grocery shopping and buying every item from a different store, instead of going to a supermarket.

Scalability Limitations

If you’re buying satellite images once in a blue moon, maybe you won’t mind the issues listed above. However, if your core business relies on having programmatic access to Earth observation data, then you may be frustrated with the lack of solutions to automate and scale the process. Building separate integrations for each provider can be a waste of time and money. Fortunately, we have a better solution for that!

Introducing EarthCache

EarthCache is a satellite imagery marketplace and API. It connects customers to one of the largest networks of satellite data providers in the world. At SkyWatch, we often refer to EarthCache as “Amazon for satellite images”. 

Instead of having to firm a contract with each vendor separately, EarthCache users have a single entry point with access to multiple providers. Ultimately, it means more options for customers like you and higher chances of finding an image that meets your needs.

Benefits of Using EarthCache

Now that you understand some of the challenges for buying Earth observation data, let’s talk about how EarthCache is the easiest and fastest way to do that. 

Multiple Providers

We offer satellite data from Airbus, Planet, SIIS, ESA, and other data providers all under one roof. Our team is constantly seeking partnerships with satellite operators to expand our marketplace and give you more options.

Easy to Use

EarthCache is so easy to use that you can purchase an image within minutes. Search our Archive for historical data or task a satellite to capture new images of your area of interest.

Quick Sales Process

Don’t worry about lengthy sales processes, minimum volume commitments, and data license agreements. Just log in, search for your images, and buy what you need.

Competitive Prices

We've partnered with data providers to lower their minimum area requirements and offer satellite data at competitive prices, starting at $10 / km2. You’ll pay only for the data delivered to you. There are no contracts or subscription fees.

Customer Service

We pride ourselves on working with companies of all sizes. Our experienced team goes above and beyond to understand your geospatial needs and help you achieve your goals.

Powerful API

Send and retrieve all the information you need with one POST and one GET. EarthCache’s powerful API will deliver your images pre-clipped and pre-processed. Our up-to-date API documentation includes sample code to guide your engineering team. We also offer a probability calculator to help you determine the chances of fulfillment for your order.

Book a Demo

To request access to EarthCache, fill out the form below. We’ll get in touch with you to assess your needs, give you a product tour, and create your account.

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