All Things Location

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  • 1.  The cost of imagery

    Posted 11-05-2019 09:56
    There was an interesting article posted recently comparing the cost of imagery acquisition from the various platforms that now collect earth observation data: drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), fixed wing aircraft and satellites (multi-spectral platforms, smallsats or cubesats). However, there's more to data acquisition than cost, especially the ability to understand what the correct spatial resolution should be for the application and analysis you wish to perform. Once you understand the level of detail for the features you want to analyze, then you can determine the right platform. Today, there are more choices than ever and the burgeoning UAV business is providing options than when satellites were first launched in the mid-70's. Getting squeezed by this high availability of data may be smallsats. Data from the large satellites constellations from MAXAR/DigitalGlobe or Airbus is coming down in cost and they are offering near real-time data acquisition. Drone companies are sprouting everywhere and there too the availability is excellent. So what do the smallsat companies like Planet offer?

    Are there just too many pixels now?

    Joe Francica
    Boulder CO

  • 2.  RE: The cost of imagery

    Posted 11-13-2019 05:06
    Edited by Susan Bardet 11-13-2019 05:06

    The article on Price wars is interesting. Which solution is most cost-effective depends on what one's requirements are. Spatial resolution, spectral resolution, temporal resolution and size of the study area would all be necessary considerations when choosing the data source. For instance, drones would not be cost effective if the study area is large and a high temporal resolution is required, for example in mapping of live fires. Another important consideration should be the cost of image processing, which data would be cheaper to process into a meaningful product, is the method well researched and am I getting an accurate output, can I use a product that is already available for free and well researched. In conclusion, I think currently drones, satellites and planes cannot replace each other but who knows what would happen in future.    

    Susan Bardet
    Software & Data support EMEA

    Pitney Bowes
    RG9 6AB Oxfordshire
    United Kingdom