Image Service User Guide

In this user guide we explain the ins and outs of using the Bird.i Image Service. We aim to make it as easy as possible for you to search, view, compare and download the latest high-resolution satellite images.

 

Overview

There are various features of the Image Service portal. Images seen here are aggregated from the world’s leading satellite providers, so that what you see in the viewfinder is the most recent and highest quality image available for that location. Our Time Series feature (on the left) provides you with historic satellite images of a defined area of interest, taken at specific dates and times.

 


 

1. How to login

Once you have created your account you will have full access to Bird.i’s Image Service portal. You can access the portal using the ‘sign in’ button in the top right-hand corner of the homepage (https://www.hibirdi.com) which will take you directly to the portal login page. You can also access the portal login directly at https://login.hibirdi.com.

 


 

2. Using the portal for the first time

When you first log into the portal, you will be offered a short virtual tour to show you around each feature. If you wish to take the tour at a later stage, you can access this at any time from the profile menu (top right) under ‘Take the Tour’.

 

 


 

3. Image Service features

 

 

3.1 Understanding the base map
The image you are first presented with in the portal (before the Bird.i viewfinder is activated) is known as a base map. Bird.i’s base map is supplied by Google and can be clicked, zoomed and dragged in the usual way to navigate to your area of interest. Browsing around the basemap does not consume any credits – this only occurs when the viewfinder (top right circle) is switched on.

Once the viewfinder is switched on, you are presented with the latest satellite image available within the centre viewfinder circle. The base map remains in all areas surrounding the viewfinder, to make for easy navigation and comparison to the older imagery available online.

3.2 How to search for images
You can easily search for a location on earth using the search bar on the left hand side of the map. You can search for locations in the following formats:

  • Type an address: e.g. Hickson Road, Sydney, NSW 2000
  • Input latitude and longitude coordinates: e.g.  -33.851341, 151.211379    or    33° 51′ 4.8276” S, 151° 12′ 40.9644” E
  • Input simple place names: e.g.  Sydney, Australia

 

The Image viewer will default to the centre of the location.

3.3 How to use the Viewfinder

To turn the viewfinder on or off, click the pink circle at the top right of the screen. Once this is activated, you will be charged for each new image you view.

To move the viewfinder, simply click and drag to the desired location on the map.
To turn off the viewfinder, you can also click the X icon above the viewfinder.
The top of the viewfinder illustrates the acquisition date and time for that particular image.
The foot of the viewfinder contains co-ordinate information which you can easily copy and paste into another application.

3.4 How to operate the zoom level
The zoom level of a satellite image determines how much of the map is visible. A zoom level of 0 (zero) means that you would be able to view the whole world. At the other end of the spectrum, a zoom level of 19 would mean that even the smallest of roads would be visible. In the Bird.i portal, when you zoom in and out on the map, the zoom level will be between 16 and 19. This high zoom level lets you analyse even the smallest details of a satellite image.
To zoom in and out of the map click the plus and minus signs in the bottom right corner of the screen.

3.5 Understanding differences in image resolution
Satellite operators provide images with different resolutions, and because we use a variety of different satellite providers, you may come across imagery with differing resolutions. If you zoom into a satellite image in the portal and it becomes blurry, this may be due to the number of pixels in the image. For example, if an image has a definition of 5m, this means that each pixel represents 5 meters of ground.
The satellite providers we use take images with resolutions between 30cm and 1.5m, so you may come across images at a resolution anywhere in between these levels.

3.6 How to download an image
To download the current image you see, click the centre download icon directly above the viewfinder. The image will be downloaded in a rectangular format, containing what you see in the viewfinder. This image will be in a .png format and will be downloaded at the current zoom level.

3.7 How can I view a map of the location in the satellite image?
To view location labels on the satellite basemap, you can use the buttons located in the top left of the viewing window within the Image View portal. You can switch between ‘Google Satellite’ and ‘Google Streets’, which will change the base map in the background accordingly.

3.8 How do I view historic images of my area of interest?

Our Time Series feature allows you to search and view historic satellite images of earth. You can access all of the satellite images that are available at any location. For a comprehensive view of how a location looked in the past, compare different satellite images of an area to analyse whether there may have been any changes.The timeline, on the left hand side of the map, allows you to scroll back through historic satellite images that have been taken of the location that you are viewing inside the viewfinder. There can be up to 10 images available of this location, going back up to 60 months, which provides you with the ability to analyse any changes that may have occurred over this time period.

 


 

Visit our FAQs page for a full list of frequently asked questions, or alternatively, contact us here or click the live chat button at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.