What is the difference between using free applications and paying for satellite imagery?

The key differences in free vs commercial satellite imagery mostly concern the freshness and accuracy of the data. Free applications can be up to 8 years out of date in places, vs. just a few days old with commercial platforms like Bird.i. Commercial providers will also offer business-focused features.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 up-to-date is the imagery in the Bird.i platform?

Imagery around the globe is constantly being acquired by our industry-leading partners. We curate the best, highest resolution imagery into our system every day. The best way to find out how fresh the imagery is in your areas of interest is to schedule a demo with one of our team here, where you can see for yourself.



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).



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’s basemap.



Can I get free satellite imagery from Bird.i?

No – we provide accurate, affordable imagery packages starting from $75 through to bespoke packages for higher satellite imagery usage. If you’re interested in seeing the platform’s full features and functionality, you can request a customised demo here.



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 a number of 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.



How do Bird.i credits work?

Each Bird.i plan comes with 100, 2000, or 15000 credits. Every time you view a fresh image by clicking on the map it uses 1 credit, while each image download is equivalent to 35 credits. Full information on credit inclusions can be found on our pricing page.



How many providers does Bird.i work with?

Bird.i works with a number of satellite operators, each with their own ‘constellation’ of satellites. Each satellite has different specifications, bringing a range of image resolutions and revisit rates into our platform. You can find out more about our partners here.



What’s the resolution of the satellite images you provide?

The satellites we use can provide imagery with resolutions between 1.5m and 30cm, so within the platform you may come across images with resolutions anywhere in between these levels. A resolution of 30cm means that each pixel you see on the screen represents 30cm on the ground.



What does revisit rate mean?

The revisit rate 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.



What is the benefit of getting imagery from Bird.i?

Purchasing satellite imagery via other channels can be a fragmented process. Knowing who to approach for the type of imagery required can be complex, time-consuming and expensive. One of the main reasons Bird.i was created was to lower the barriers to accessing insightful, up-to-date satellite imagery. Read more about accessing satellite imagery here.



What type of satellite imagery does Bird.i provide?

Bird.i provides users with RGB-based optical imagery in a .png format. We do not provide shortwave infrared (SWIR), synthetic-aperture radar (SAR), light imaging, detection and ranging (LIDAR) imagery or GeoTIFF downloads.



Can I get a demo before purchasing a Bird.i subscription?

Yes, we offer business users a free demo. All you have to do is register here with your corporate e-mail address and we’ll get in touch to arrange a suitable time. A customised demo is a great way to find out out more about the platform and how it could benefit your business.