How satellite imagery currency impacts planning, performance and security
Keeping up with change
Both built and natural environments change quite frequently. If you’re consulting a map to scout real estate opportunities or inform important business decisions, you need to know if the data reflects current ground conditions. Outdated maps can cost time, money and lost opportunities.
Satellite imagery is a cost-effective resource for maintaining maps at scale, saving time and budget traditionally spent on field surveys.
This is especially true for navigation and transportation services, where the revenue model relies heavily on getting people from point A to point B as soon as possible.
The importance of up-to-date maps
Let’s say there is a new pickup point at the airport for rideshare services but your navigation app shows cars driving through an empty lot. That’s because your map is based on satellite imagery taken over a year ago, before construction was complete.
Without a reliable map, your app is putting your drivers at a disadvantage and customer loyalty at risk. Maintaining maps with current satellite imagery is a lot faster, safer and cheaper for high-traffic areas than relying on expensive field survey data.
Avoid lost opportunities and violation fees by keeping maps up to date with satellite imagery.
For humanitarian organizations working in remote areas, recent maps are difficult to find or build. But if you’re planning a regional malaria vaccination program, you need to identify safe routes to reach each community as well as population estimates. How can you map the region?
Current imagery provides a foundational backdrop for reliable vector data extraction, so you have an up-to-date view of roads and buildings—helping you inform critical decisions before sending teams and resources into the field. Plus, algorithm-derived population estimates—based on structure identification—provides a better idea of how many vaccines are needed.
Compare this original map of Mamou, Guinea, to one built based on feature identification in current satellite imagery. Current imagery and map data provide teams on the ground with reliable information for decision-making.
Amid natural disasters or political tensions, monitoring ongoing situations is crucial for effective decisions and actions. Satellite imagery offers a unique view of current events, enhancing situational awareness for government and defense agencies.
In the example below, had the imagery been taken weeks, days or even hours before or after, this activity would not have been captured, which provided valuable information to authorities. And if they were relying on freely available imagery, which is often outdated, gathering this information would not have been possible.
A satellite image captured on September 13, 2019 shows Iranian oil tanker, Adrian Darya 1, at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers near the Syrian port of Tartus.
In an image taken one month later, the now free moving Adrian Darya 1 is approached by a smaller Iranian tanker, an indication the ship could be preparing to transfer its cargo —potentially a violation of sanctions.
Maxar satellite imagery shows the smaller vessel alongside the Adrian Darya 1 on October 6, with mooring lines drawn between them and a deployed crane.
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