Now's a great time to get this into next year’s council budget
by Steve Critchlow, Group Managing Director, on 17-Feb-2021 08:41:32
If you rely on geospatial data for decision-making, now is the right time to consider including a surprisingly affordable, yet potentially game-changing satellite imagery service subscription to next year’s budget.
In this blog, we want to share with you why New Zealand’s local, regional and district councils should add a subscription service to Maxar’s SecureWatch in your arsenal of decision-making support tools.
Imagery is an important data source for investigations, compliance monitoring, land use change detection, and more. All image capture technologies, whether it's satellite, aerial or drone, have their part to play, however, the currency of the imagery data for each specific use case must be fit-for-purpose.
Take aerial imagery. New Zealand councils typically procure this data on a 3-to-5-year cycle. It is generally of most value when it is first released (which can be several months after acquisition), devaluing over time as it becomes out-of-date, before regaining much of its original value as a historic record. It is not an ideal data source when currency is key (i.e. when there is too great a time lapse between data capture and when it’s needed).
Satellite imagery becomes extremely useful during these intervening years.
Satellite imagery is captured on a daily basis, with most of New Zealand covered through frequent passes over a period of days. This currency enables councils to acquire evidence and to monitor change as recent as two days prior. A few uses are:
- Identifying unconsented work (e.g. vegetation clearance, drainage works)
- Monitoring changes where current information is unavailable (e.g. new expressways, waterway pollution and discharge)
- Visualising year-on-year changes to dynamic environments (e.g. river courses, estuaries and dune lands)
Maxar’s SecureWatch subscription service offers images up to 30 cm resolution, with data available to view or download within 48 hours of capture. Very handy is the alert system for new imagery that you can set up for your areas of interest. Subscriptions also provide access to 20 years’ worth of image archives for monitoring long-term change.
Using the GIS tool of your choice, including MapInfo Pro, Esri ArcGIS and the Google Earth plug-in, SecureWatch offers the level of security that government organisations around the world have come to expect.
One of our council customers says that satellite data allows their organisation to “do things today that they couldn’t do in the past” and has seen a reduction in the number of on-site visits required.
Importantly, Maxar SecureWatch is surprisingly affordable. An entry-level annual subscription costs approximately NZ$7,000 for downloadable and/or streamed data. If you do choose to download, it works out to $20/km2 (for 350 km2). If you choose to stream only, you will have access to 140,000 km2 at a cost of 5 cents/km2, depending on your zoom level. With your subscription, you also have access to imagery basemaps for use in your GIS workstations.
Please get in touch with our Critchlow Geospatial team to explore how a Maxar SecureWatch subscription could be used in your council, so you can make the business case to secure budget while the time is right.