Satellite Imagery FAQs

Read the top FAQs about satellite imagery here.

How can we help?

What’s the difference between free and paid-for satellite imagery?

The key differences in free vs commercial satellite imagery mostly concern the freshness and accuracy of the data. Free applications such as Google Maps can be up to 8 years out of date in places, versus just a few days old with commercial platforms like Bird.i. Commercial providers will also offer business-focused features. You can read more about this topic in depth over on our blog post ‘Why buy commercial satellite imagery?’.

How can I view live/real-time satellite images?

While imagery from Bird.i’s satellite providers is up-to-date, it is not ‘live’. You are unable to view any live, moving imagery through commercially-available satellites.

How do I buy high-resolution satellite images?

Bird.i provides many different package options for browsing and buying satellite images. Each package comes with a number of credits which are used to browse and download imagery as you please. More information about each level of pricing is available here.

What is a ‘basemap’?

A basemap refers to the imagery that forms the background setting for a map. Basemaps will set the context for the data that overlays it. Bird.i currently uses Google Map’s basemap.

What does revisit rate mean?

The revisit rate (sometimes acquisition cadence) is the time between two images being acquired over the same location. A daily revisit, for example, means an image will be acquired every day over that particular area.

How do I find the date and time a satellite image was taken?

Our online Image Service always shows the date and time of the acquisition, so you know exactly when the image you are looking at was taken. Timestamps are shown in UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).

Is the imagery data subject to encryption or compression?

Our data is not subject to any encryption or compression. Since the solution is web-based, there is no requirement for any bespoke toolkits or extensions to digest the imagery.

What range of spatial resolutions do you offer?

The aerial imagery within our platform has a spatial resolution of 0.1m, with coverage limited to the UK. Our satellite imagery ranges from 1.5 – 0.3m with global coverage.

What size are the image file downloads?

The file size of imagery will vary depending on the default image type that our providers chose to serve (ie. JPEG or PNG). The average of a 5×5 image for JPEG and PNG is 0.3MB and 4.5MB respectively.

Why am I seeing white patches in the portal?

Since satellite imagery is captured in larger ‘strips’, when using the portal you may come across the edges of these strips in the viewfinder. Find out more information on why this happens in our blog post here.


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