Timing and Availability of Commercial Imagery

Imagery availability 

Unless a data collection is specifically tasked by a customer, imagery vendors do not guarantee coverage over specific geographies at specific times of year. However, we do our best to give Lens users a sense of collection likelihood based on the historical patterns and estimated future collection plans of our imagery providers. More details below.

General

  • Historic capture can be helpful to understand general collection patterns but is not a predictor nor guarantor of future collection plans.
  • The imagery you see in the Lens dashboard is called our “Imagery Archive”. This is data that you’re buying off-the-shelf from our vendors. If you have specific imagery collection needs that are not met by archive availability, you can task a specific imagery collection. You can learn more about tasking here.

Satellite imagery

  • Satellite imagery vendors are constantly collecting imagery across the globe - their orbits are consistent and ongoing. This means that their imagery archives are constantly growing and that there is a low logistical barrier to entry for tasking.
  • Imagery is typically available within several days of initial capture. This means that you can get very fresh data, but there is the risk of whether your location will be covered by a collection.
  • Satellite imagery providers tend to collect North America in Q3 and Q4 of the calendar year, as a way to hit the best weather for collection (clearest skies) and in order to satisfy seasonal market demands. 

Aerial imagery

  • Aerial imagery vendors have to plan discrete flights in order to collect different geographies. While they work very hard to keep their imagery collections up to date, they are not constantly orbiting the earth and adding global imagery on an ongoing basis. Rather, they fly discrete locations based on customer need and market demand. 
  • This means that imagery does not roll into the archives on the same ongoing basis as we see with our satellite imagery providers. More typically, a season’s collection will be performed and added to the archive in chunks as the flights are finished. This means you are likely to see longer delays between imagery capture date and when it is made available in Lens. 

Drone imagery

  • There is no drone imagery available through the Lens Imagery Archive.
  • We are able to ingest drone imagery into the Lens platform. We can help coordinate a drone flight of your properties through our tasking program or ingest drone imagery that you’ve already procured. 

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