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Posted on November 4th, 2014

How Important Is Your Competition?

When I joined Apollo Mapping six weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to write a brief article for the monthly newsletter and of course I jumped at the chance. As I sat down to come up with ideas, I started thinking about previous opportunities I’ve come across in my brief, but future long-term, GIS and remote sensing related career. One topic in particular stood out for my first article, i.e. monitoring, but more importantly monitoring your competition.

An oil storage facility site imaged on June 25, 2011 by the 50-cm color satellite, WorldView-2. (Image Courtesy: DigitalGlobe)
An image of the same oil storage facility now collected on February 12, 2014 by the 60-cm color satellite, QuickBird. (Image Courtesy: DigitalGlobe)

The term monitoring can mean many things, especially in the geospatial world. Monitoring for some might mean weekly site collections, and for others it might mean collections quarterly or even annually, but in the end, it really depends on your project. I’ve seen projects where the goal was to monitor oil wells for productivity and/or capacity changes; and some to monitoring parking lots to count cars; and still others to monitor ports for estimated shipping volumes.

This brings me to my next point, maybe the true value of monitoring is not just observing your own assets but your competition. Perhaps the true value of the pixels Apollo Mapping offers is understanding what your competitors are doing and not just a pretty picture. For example, your competition could be ramping up productivity by adding oil containers, paving new roads to an existing site or building a new pipeline.

I’ve come across quite a few opportunities very similar to the examples above, and they seem to be growing in number given the value monitoring can provide. Two ideas came to mind when writing this article: the first was the New England Patriots and ‘Spygate,’ which I will not go into here; and the other was a NASCAR race. I’m sure you’re wondering why NASCAR, well the answer is simple! All of the cars in a race have to adhere to the same specifications and policies, yet they all make their pre-race changes behind closed doors. Now imagine if you could see what changes were made, you’d have a leg up on the competition. The value of information is different for every company, but just knowing that you can access imagery can be of great value to making informed business decisions.

With the resolution and revisit time of today’s satellites, the ability to see something on a daily or weekly basis is a reality. And today’s technology allows you options to view one site or one hundred sites depending on what you need.

Here are three ways Apollo Mapping can help you monitor locations:

  1. The Image Hunter Archive – our imagery archive is updated daily with scenes from numerous high to medium resolutions sensors on a global scale. To say that there’s a ton of imagery in Image Hunter is an understatement, with an estimated 5 million square kilometers of high res data ingested on a daily basis. Image Hunter is the most powerful imagery search tools in the industry.
  2. Subscription Services – a Global Basemap Subscription service, and in particular the Basemap + Refresh subscription service, provides an almost yearly refresh of the USA. So if your projects or competitive intel requires yearly collections, this may fit the bill for your organization. Global access subscription services are also available if your organization requires multi-country imagery coverage. These services are accessible via any OGC-compliant software or through a password protected web portal.
  3. Custom Tasking – We can collect imagery just about anywhere on the globe, so if the needs of your project aren’t met with our archive or a subscription service, then we can custom collect areas down to 25 square kilometers. Your custom tasking order can be completed on-time with 3 different levels of priority tasking depending upon the budget of the project. FTP and/or secure portal delivery is available.

Each of these three methods to acquire imagery and monitor sites has its place. To find out which option is best for you, please feel free to reach out to me directly and let’s discuss your project.

Robert O’Munneke
Chief of Sales
(703) 304-6425

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