We’re happy to facilitate tasking requests for customers in the Standard and Enterprise plans. 
This article will cover

What is tasking?

Tasking is the process of commissioning a remote data provider to capture imagery at a designated time and place. It can be an ideal option if you need to ensure that imagery is captured for your property at a certain spatial resolution within a tight timeline. 

Lens users have access to a range of satellite and aerial imagery providers to maximize the frequency and availability of imagery. Tasking provides a guarantee that your property will receive imagery within a specific time frame. Though tasking comes with a higher price tag than ordering through Lens, it may be the best way to meet your monitoring needs. It’s also important to note that, unlike imagery ordered through Lens, tasking comes with minimum capture areas and costs to meet for each order. 
The decision of whether and when to task is contingent on each organization’s imagery needs, flexibility in budget, staff time, and reporting deadlines. Another important consideration is reporting deadlines. If your organization is working within specific deadlines to complete monitoring or other activities that require imagery, it may be necessary to task imagery if other data sources or field visits are not possible.

Tasking Considerations


In most cases, earlier planning gets you the best price, and highest likelihood for capture. We recommend reaching out 4-6 weeks in advance of when you need imagery. As soon as your imagery is captured, we’ll reach out to share the raw data files with you, and will also upload your tasked truecolor imagery to Lens. You also can set up a recurring task, if you’d like to get data every quarter, for example. 

Tasking Tradeoffs and Minimums

There are different vendors you can opt to use for tasking. There are tradeoffs between vendors and it's important to consider multiple factors: spatial resolution, budget, turnaround time, and quality or clarity of imagery. Overall, Planet offers more flexibility in regards to cost and order size while Airbus has less flexibility but consistently delivers images with excellent quality (ex: consistent color correction, crisp images). Below the minimum capture and corresponding minimum order cost are outlined for different vendors and imaging options:

  • Airbus Neo
    • Spatial resolution: 30 cm
    • Minimum capture requirement: 100 km2 (~25,000 acres) per continuous area
    • Minimum cost: $2,800 minimum order
  • Airbus Pleiades
    • Spatial resolution: 50 cm
    • Minimum capture requirement: 100 km2 (~25,000 acres) per continuous area
    • Minimum cost: $1,800 minimum order
  • Planet SkySat
    • Spatial resolution: 50 cm
    • Minimum capture requirement: 25 km2 (~6,200 acres) per continuous area
    • Minimum cost: $500 minimum order
    • Note: SkySat tasks are likely to result in multiple scenes. Depending on task size and location relative to the satellite flight path, a task can result in multiple captures. Each separate capture will be delivered as an individual scene in Lens and as a separate GeoTIFF. If you load the GeoTIFFs into a GIS software like ArcMap or QGIS, the GeoTIFFs will line up well for visual inspection, although coloration may vary slightly. If you want the files together as one layer you will be responsible for merging or mosaicing the GeoTIFFs together.

Additional Considerations

Cloud Cover and Satellite AnglesCloud cover minimums will default to <30% and satellite elevation angles (the angle between the ground and the line pointing to the satellite) will default to 60-90 degrees.

Recurring capturesIf you are interested in receiving recurring imagery for your property we can work with you to set up a tasking series - just let us know!

Snow: If you are interested in snow-free imagery, please let us know. While we are able to try to recapture the image if the first attempt has snow, we suggest planning ahead to avoid the snowy season to increase your chances of imagery without snow cover.

Shadows: Shadows are a result of not only satellite angle, but also sun angle. This is particularly relevant for areas of high latitude at particular times of the year when the sun is lower in the sky. For instance, imaging areas in the northern US and Canada in the winter will likely result in shadowy images.

Imagery in the order pane: Please be aware that while your task is being completed you may start to see new images appearing in the order pane for the tasked properties. These images are a result of your task and you do not need to purchase them from the order pane. Once all images are captured they will be delivered to your Lens account.

Tasking Estimator Tool

We have a tool to help you assess your options for tasking, including which properties you'd like to task, different imagery vendors, and how these choices impact cost. We’re always here to answer any questions you or your team have along the way - you can reach out at lens@upstream.tech anytime.

  1. Your first step will be to determine which of your properties need tasking. You can tag these properties with a “Needs Tasking” tag to stay organized as you make these decisions as well. Select all the properties you’d like to task from the Property Overview page in a portfolio. Admin users can then select the three dots on the right side and click “Estimate Tasking” to get started.

  2. From this tool, you can select which imagery source and properties to include in your task. By clicking “Estimate,” you’ll see a rough cost estimate. You’ll see buffer areas around your properties as well, which correspond to the minimum area requirements for each vendor and are optimized based on the shape of your selected areas. You can choose a different vendor and/or change your property selection to re-run the tool to see how different parameters impact costs. If you want to view a previous iteration, click "Past Estimates" in the bottom left of the tasking tool.

  3. If you’re ready to move forward, click “Next” and enter details about the timing of when you’d like to task. We recommend choosing a capture window of two weeks at the very minimum, and it’s helpful to task as far in advance as possible to ensure you can get imagery in the time frame you want at a reasonable cost.

  4. You can also select spectral bands to include in your task at this stage. Upon delivery, we will load truecolor tasked imagery into your Lens account and deliver the raw data directly to you as well.
  5. If you’re ready to finalize your tasking request, click “Submit” and our team will coordinate directly with the vendor to create an official quote. We’ll reach out as soon as possible with an official order form and final price for you to review and sign.
  6. As soon as it’s available we’ll pass the data along to you. Raw imagery files will be shared via a Google Cloud storage bucket where you can retrieve zipped files of your data (usually GeoTIFFs), and we’ll upload truecolor imagery to your Lens account.
  7. Once data is delivered, we will send you an invoice for the agreed amount.