Ordering High Resolution Imagery

This article covers: 

  • How to order imagery in Lens 
  • How to choose the right image for your needs 

How to order imagery in Lens

There are two ways to order imagery in Lens: from the Property Map View, or from the Property Overview Page.

Ordering Imagery from the Property Map View

To order imagery from the Property Map View, select “Order” from the left sidebar, and you’ll see a list of all the available options for your property. 

From here, you can also use the sort and filter buttons at the top of the Order pane. You might want to choose the most recently captured image to get an up-to-date understanding of property conditions, for example, or one captured in the late fall for leaf-off imagery that allows you to see what’s happening under the canopy more clearly. If you hover over an image in that list, you’ll see an eye icon, which allows you to hide image options that don’t meet your needs (and you can always unhide later). 

After you’ve found an image that you’re interested in ordering, select “Preview” for any of these images to see more details, including cloud coverage, costs, and a low-resolution preview of the area. This is a good time to make sure this image will meet your needs. For satellite sources, you can see the time of day (in your time zone) that the image was captured. Once you select “Order Image,” processing will begin so that you can view the full resolution image in Lens. Note that only users with the Admin role can order imagery.

By default, we process high-resolution imagery thumbnails back to the beginning of the prior year. If you are using Lens for baselines or need to order imagery from earlier time periods, please reach out to us.

Ordering partial imagery

If you’re interested in ordering only a part of an image for a property, you can use the Order Partial Imagery feature. This can be ideal for follow-up, strategically spending imagery budget on larger properties, or even checking to see if imagery meets your needs before purchasing the entire scene. 

From the Order pane on the left, you’ll see an icon for “Order Partial Imagery” where you can draw a rectangle on the map of your property to indicate where you need imagery, as shown below.

There is a 100 acre (40 hectare) minimum for partial imagery ordering, and once you draw a rectangle you'll be able to see if it’s large enough or adjust. Once your selection meets these requirements, you’ll see the options for imagery that overlaps with your selection and be able to order for only that part of the scene. Any scenes that don’t overlap with your selection will be greyed out from the list of orderable options. 

For partial imagery ordering, the selection you choose is exactly what we will process, unlike ordering a full scene where we include buffers automatically. If you select an area to order that falls within the buffer zone of the property, you'll only be charged for acreage within the property boundary.

After a partial scene has been ordered, you’ll see a gold “Partial” label on the date dropdown and in the Order pane. 

You can always go back and order more imagery from that same scene, or select it in the Order list and “Order Rest of Image” to complete the scene.

Ordering Imagery from the Property Overview Page

It’s also possible to order images directly from the list of properties in your Property Overview Page, which can be helpful if you’re ready to order imagery for multiple properties. Navigate to the “High-Res for [Year]” column and hover to see what images have been captured for each property. A list of available images and dates will pop up, and you can select “Show Imagery” to view those thumbnails, preview, and order. 

This can also be a helpful approach for Multi-location properties which include more than one individual part. Each part is listed beneath the overall property name in the Property Overview, and imagery is ordered separately for each individual part.

Hiding Images

If there are images that do not suit your needs, they can be hidden from the list of available imagery. Open the available images from within the property or from the Property Overview page. Click on the "Hide this image" button to hide it from the list of available imagery.

To view any hidden imagery, select the "Show" button at the bottom of the imagery list. 

How to choose the right image for your needs

Data sources overview

The Lens Library aggregates imagery options from a range of public and commercial remote sensing data providers. The frequency, timing, and spatial resolution of these sources vary, giving you the ability to choose exactly what works best for your monitoring needs. Below is the list of our current data sources and their spatial resolution. For more information on imagery availability and timing, see our article on the Timing and Availability of Commercial Imagery.

*Refer to our Extended Archive Imagery Guidance article 

Lens displays all imagery on the map in Web Mercator (EPSG:3857) projection.

Spatial Resolution Considerations 

The variety of options means greater coverage for each of your properties, but it can sometimes be difficult to determine what spatial resolution is sufficient for various monitoring purposes. Spatial resolution refers to the size of the smallest feature that’s visible in an image. So when we refer to a 0.5-meter resolution image in Lens, that means that one pixel in the image corresponds to a half meter by half meter area on the ground. The chart below allows you to compare various spatial resolutions for different property sizes to give you a sense of how detailed the image will be. 

The Nature Conservancy released a white paper in the fall of 2020 entitled "Remote Property Monitoring at The Nature Conservancy in California" about their experience navigating different remote monitoring options. They developed a table with guidance on what level of spatial resolution is needed to detect various types of changes on conservation easements. The table provides examples of permitted or prohibited uses and activities, and their findings for the minimum spatial resolution required to detect various changes for reference.

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