Word of the Month – Tasking Policies
Following up on last month’s GeoView, for the February 2010 Word of the Month we will feature the Tasking Policies for both DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, who are eMap’s key high-resolution satellite imagery providers. While each company has slightly different policies, they are quite similar and appear to be converging as time goes on.
GeoEye is the owner and operator of the high-resolution satellites IKONOS and GeoEye-1. When placing a GeoEye tasking order, there are minimum tasking windows that you must agree to based on the final size of your polygon. For orders under 500 sq km, the minimum tasking commitment is 60 days; while for orders between 500 and 5,000 sq km, the minimum commitment is 90 days. When the initial tasking feasibility is completed (see the January 2010 GeoView edition for details on Tasking Feasibilities), you can request the actual estimated time to collect your polygon as assessed by GeoEye. If data meeting the maximum cloud cover specification is not collected by the end of the committed tasking window, you have the option to cancel the tasking order or extend for another 30 days. If you decide to cancel, then you must purchase all data that has been collected (if any) that meets the agreed upon cloud cover specification.
DigitalGlobe is the owner and operator of the high-resolution satellites QuickBird, WorldVIew-1 and WorldView-2. When placing a tasking order with DigitalGlobe, the tasking feasibility will define a start date and an estimated end collect date. Once the tasking order is confirmed with DigitalGlobe, you can cancel the order at no cost as long as no attempts (even if they are 100% cloud cover) have been made on your polygon(s). Once attempts have been made, you cannot cancel the order until the estimated end collect date has passed; after this time, you can cancel at no cost or extend the order to a date that you select or to one that DigitalGlobe determines in a new feasibility.
The maximum cloud cover specification is an important consideration when placing a tasking order. For both companies, the standard specification is 15% or less cloud cover. GeoEye will offer a 10% or less cloud cover guarantee for a 25% price uplift to the base tasking costs; and also a 5% or less option for a 50% price uplift – both options require approval by GeoEye. While DigitalGlobe does not have a set tasking option for reduced cloud cover orders, with the recent launch of WorldView-2 and its unmatched collection capacity, it is the opinion of eMap that there will be more flexibility around this issue moving forward. Here are two more points eMap would like you to consider when it comes to cloud cover and tasking orders:
- (1) Cloud cover can be a serious problem for clients tasking small point targets; if this is the case for you, please let us know and we will work with you to find a workable solution to this problem.
- (2) As in the past, haze is not considered cloud cover if the land below the haze is visible in the final product. eMap recognizes this can be a serious concern for those completing spectral analysis on their tasked imagery. Please let us know this is the case upfront when you place the order so we are aware of this issue and alert the imaging companies. Past experience suggests that GeoEye is more flexible when re-tasking for haze related issues; though we expect this to change with the recent launch of DigitalGlobe’s satellite WorldView-2.
For clients that need to collect their tasking orders sooner than later, both imaging companies offer accelerated tasking options for higher prices. GeoEye offers a Rush tasking option for a $4,000 non-refundable tasking fee that is due at the time of order confirmation. This fee gives clients guaranteed tasking attempts – typically the next three accesses to the polygon, though it can be more – but is non-refundable even if the order is canceled without any data collected meeting the agreed upon cloud cover specification. DigitalGlobe offers three options to speed up its tasking timelines. The first and lowest-cost option is called Select Plus tasking and is equivalent to their previous Priority Tasking level. The next option is generally for larger orders and is called Assured Tasking. The final option is called Single Shot Tasking and with it you get the next available access to your polygon; the danger with this option is that you pay for the data even if it’s 100% cloud cover, so buyers beware!
The final policy to consider when placing a tasking order for satellite imagery is the minimum order sizes and polygon dimensions. For GeoEye, the minimum order size is 100 sq km for all tasking orders and all order polygons must be at least 5-km wide at their narrowest point. For DigitalGlobe, there is a minimum order price of $1,800 for Select and Select Plus mono tasking orders and a $10,000 minimum for Assured and Rush mono tasking orders. The minimum polygon sizes will vary depending on the priority you select and product format but all polygons must be at least 5-km wide at their narrowest point. Stereo orders with DigitalGlobe have a 210 sq km minimum order size and polygons must be at least 5-km wide at their narrowest point as well.
We understand that this a lot of information to absorb in a short time and space, so if you have any questions about the points made above, please do not hesitate to contact us at (720) 470-7988 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brock Adam McCarty
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