We’re happy to facilitate tasking requests for customers in the Plus and Enterprise plans. 

This article provides an overview for the process of tasking with Upstream Tech.  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.

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. Ordering imagery from the archive in Lens can be unpredictable, whereas tasking provides a guarantee that your property will receive imagery within a specific time frame. Though tasking comes with a higher price tag, it may give you peace of mind depending on 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.

Which imagery vendors provide tasking?

We partner with a number of imagery vendors to provide tasking services - some of these may be familiar from Lens and others are tasking-only data providers. Below is a brief list of our current tasking vendors, as well as their spatial resolution and spectral bands:
  • Airbus Neo captures data at 30cm resolution, and has up to six spectral bands (Deep Blue, Blue, Green, Red, Red Edge, Near-infrared) 
  • Airbus Pleiades captures data at 50cm resolution and has up to four bands (Blue, Green, Red, Near-infrared)
  • Near Space Labs Swift is an aerial provider that captures data at about 22cm resolution and includes three bands (Blue, Green, Red)
  • Planet SkySat captures data at 50cm resolution, with up to four bands (Blue, Green, Red, Near-infrared)
  • PlanetScope basemaps are a mosaic of images captured across a certain period of time, such as a month or quarter. This data is 3m resolution and contains up to four bands. 
Reach out to us if you’re interested in getting a quote from any of these vendors. Each has different tradeoffs in terms of the spatial resolution, minimum order areas, and costs of the order. We’re happy to walk through your options and find the best fit based on the properties you need to task.

Timing considerations

In most cases, earlier planning gets you the best price, and highest likelihood for capture. We recommend reaching out 6-8 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 imagery to Lens. You also can set up a recurring task, if you’d like to get data every quarter, for example.

Steps to initiate a tasking request

  1. Your first step will be to determine which of your properties need tasking. You can do this in Lens by tagging these properties with a “Needs Tasking” tag. Generally, it’s best to task a cluster of properties when possible, since most vendors require that you meet a minimum spatial area. 
  2. Once you have your properties tagged, send us an email at lens@upstream.tech to ask for a quote, and let us know what tasking provider(s) you’re interested in as well as your timeline.
  3. In some cases, we may need to buffer around your properties to reach the minimum area requirements from vendors. At this stage we should be able to share a tentative quote to give you a ballpark sense of price.
  4. If everything looks good, we’ll move ahead and formalize a quote with the relevant vendor for your requested time period. Once this is confirmed we will provide you with an official order form and final price.
  5. The data provider will fly overhead and capture imagery for your properties at the specified time.
  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 in GeoTIFF format), and we’ll upload everything directly to your Lens account as well. 

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