Key Concepts


  • Large image files are cumbersome to download, and hard to use on the web so imagery is often tiled into smaller pieces that can be individually handled.

  • Over 60% of the Earth is covered by clouds at any moment, so imaging a large area often involves combining multiple scenes, sometimes from different days or even from different sources.

  • Mosaics blend together imagery from multiple scenes into a single, seamless image. E.g. DigitalGlobe Vivid+, Planet Labs seasonal mosaics.

Hosted Imagery

  • Hosted imagery and mosaics are tiled basemaps can be easily integrated into web applications E.g. Astro Digital Fetch.

  • Hosted imagery combined with server side analytics can also greatly speed up intensive analytics on a large scale.

  • Cloud hosting and Analytics services allow users to run heavy computation across many images, and only download the end product E.g. Landsat on AWS, Google Earth Engine

Image Catalogs and Searching

  • Large organizations may have trouble tracking imagery purchased by different units or for different projects Solution: Hosted catalogs

  • Hosted catalogs allow users across an organization to browse and re-download any imagery they’ve previously purchased E.g. Airbus DataDoors

  • Searching across multiple imagery provider archives is difficult and time consuming Solution: Unified search platforms

  • Unified search platforms provide results from multiple vendors and platforms, allowing the best available option to be chosen. E.g. DigitalGlobe Unified Commercial platform