Why Buying Satellite Imagery Used to Be So Hard

April 28, 2022

A remote sensing device, such as a satellite, collects and acquires physical, chemical, and biological information about the Earth.

This blog aims to explain how satellites can detect invisible radiation to the human eye. Then, GIS professionals can use various techniques to extract insights from the composite image.

For example, a satellite image can visually inspect a crop field and collect data to assess plant health, soil moisture, and vegetation growth.
Infrastructure, oil & gas, insurance, and the environment are just a few industries that use satellite images and Earth observation data today.

Challenges of Buying Satellite Data

Earth observation data has been more challenging to purchase than expected. There are a few reasons for this:

Prohibitive Pricing

Prices are high and reflect a time when sending satellites into space used to be 10x more expensive than today’s reality. Additionally, incumbents have minimum area and volume requirements for satellites. Therefore, those with a small budget or who want to test the data before signing a contract will not be able to take advantage of their conditions. 

Lengthy Sales Process

Some data providers can take up to six weeks to deliver data after the data agreement is signed. Satellite imagery began as a technology available only to governments and the military, and they operate at a different pace than most companies. While satellites are being used more commercially, this type of customer is often overlooked.

Data Availability

Suppose your budget allows for the traditional purchase of costly satellite data via FTP – a time-consuming process. But there remains an issue to consider – if the satellite galaxy owned by your chosen provider doesn’t satisfy your resolution, revisiting rate, delivery speed or geographic coverage demands, you may have to start shopping around. It’s akin to grocery shopping at various stores instead of one convenient 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 form 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 of buying Earth observation data let’s talk about how EarthCache is the easiest and fastest way to do that. 

Multiple Providers

Airbus, Planet, SIIS, ESA, and other satellite data providers are all available under one roof. In addition, we are constantly seeking new partnerships with satellite operators to increase our marketplace.

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

Simply log in, search for your images, and purchase them: no long sales processes, minimum volume commitments, or data license agreements.

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

Follow this link to receive access to EarthCache. We will contact you to assess your needs, give you a product tour, and create your account.

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