Don’t get lost in space with satellites

With more than 400 Earth Observation (EO) satellites in orbit, it’s easy to get lost in space when trying to sort through the available data sources. But only a handful of these EO satellites can meet the unique needs of agriculture.

When it comes to collecting data from plant-life, we have very specific criteria. Here are just a few aspects we take into consideration:

  • Wavelengths
  • Spectral bands
  • Swath width and image size
  • Revisit period
  • Spatial resolution
  • Ground segment capacity
  • Pre-processing
  • Time to delivery
  • Cost

Most of all, we need quality data.

Pictures are pretty, but we rely on multi-dimensional stacks of quantitative data to help our customers make business decisions (you can learn more about the data used for remote sensing here).

Over the past 30 years, Geosys has managed a virtual constellation of satellites for our customers. The term “virtual constellation” has become something of a buzzword in the AgTech and Space industries as of late – but it’s more than just marketing for us. The Geosys virtual constellation is truly unique in the variety of satellite sources available and our ability to seamlessly process the data. Plus, our virtual constellation is constantly evolving as new satellites reach operational status and as older satellites come to end of service.

Since each satellite system is unique, it requires special processing and cross-calibration to make data comparable from one source to the next (same is true for any remote sensing device). This is essential when comparing a field to the one across the road or evaluating the same field from one day to the next – which is important if you want to automatically detect change and send alerts, for instance.

Therefore, we built a source agnostic processing system to accommodate the various satellite sources. To consume all this data, we needed a system in place to make it usable for our customers and scientifically accurate for their business.

So, why should you use our virtual constellation?

First and foremost, it’s proven.

You certainly could obtain contracts to build a satellite imagery processing platform that has similar goals– or a specific platform best suited for your specific needs. But how much time and money are you willing to invest in this process? Depending on the number and types of satellites you want to access, the investment could be rather significant. Even more-so if you regularly negotiate data contracts with private EO satellite operators.

We have a team of 65 experts tending to the data, science and operational needs of our platform. This might seem excessive to some, but this is the level of commitment required to meet the delivery expectations of our customers. While this staffing model provides a great deal of value to our business, most companies would have a hard time justifying the investment.

Geosys is one of – if not the – largest commercial consumer of satellite data for agriculture. Not only does this explain the staffing needs, but it gives us negotiating power with the private EO companies. Ultimately, this results in efficiency and cost-savings that can be passed down to our customers.

All of this allowed us to deliver 300,000,000 acres of cloud-free maps in just the United States during the corn-growing season last year.

The flexibility to meet your needs.

We realize no single customer needs access to all the satellites in our virtual constellation. Our platform is fully scalable and was never built as a singular solution.  It was built as a toolbox – giving us the flexibility to meet the various needs of our customers based on the type of data required, geography and frequency.

One customer might have different needs based on requirements in their various geographies of business. Fields in Europe may be best monitored by one grouping of satellites while fields in the United States utilize a different set.

Furthermore, needs can change from year-to-year – or even mid-season. Geosys offers customers the flexibility to access the data sources when and where they need them most.

Consistency you can count on. 

As mentioned early on, data quality is our main factor in selecting satellite sources. It must be scientific-grade, so we can deliver a consistent stream of data to our customer with complete confidence.

We are processing hundreds of gigabytes of new data daily and have petabytes of historical satellite and weather data stored by the pixel in a cloud-based system, as top of canopy reflectance – all ready to access in fractions of a second. This wouldn’t be possible without high-quality data and a dedicated platform

Learn more about the satellites available through our virtual constellation or contact us to discuss your specific business needs.