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Interview with SkyFi team
This is the interview we conducted with SkyFi representatives in February 2023. We also mentioned this service in our review of the best services for satellite imagery.
How did your company start, what were the goals behind the project?
SkyFi was started by co-founder Bill Perkins, who came to understand the value of remote sensing in his hedge fund. He was using satellite imagery to look at fracking crews and to monitor production levels. After trying to acquire hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of satellite imagery and becoming very frustrated, he decided there needs to be a better solution. He wanted to make accessing high-resolution satellite imagery easier and more accessible, especially to small businesses that may not understand the power of satellite imagery (which is a form of data).
What are the 3 key features that allow you to stand out among your competitors?
The three key features that allow SkyFi to stand out among competitors are:
- easy-to-use app interface,
- affordable for small businesses and individuals,
- the ability to purchase multiple types of data and resolutions in one place.
We have a web app which is standard for the satellite imaging industry, but we also have mobile apps for Android and iOS. The vision here is to allow individuals to purchase imagery from anywhere, including sitting on their couch! We allow you to purchase existing images or task a satellite to purchase a new image in the future.
Note: we do not own any of the satellites. We are a marketplace that aggregates imagery from companies that have existing satellites in space. We partner with these companies and integrate into their platforms so it's a seamless process. We are also partnering with analytics companies to process the information. Satellite imagery alone is nice to look at, but the data is truly extracted when you pair it with machine learning capabilities like object detection or change detection.
For which countries are the most detailed imagery available through your service?
We provide up-to-date and existing imagery taken from satellites (in the future we will also provide images from planes, and drones). We can provide pictures of almost anywhere in the world – all at the same quality. Right now, the highest resolution we offer is 50cm.
From what sources do you get your data?
See our partner page here to see who we are partnering with to get data and analytics. It takes time to integrate the partners onto our application. In early March, we will be integrating Satellogic, then soon after Umbra who provides SAR imagery. We also have partners that provide aerial and drone imagery, so soon we will no longer be limited to just satellite imagery.
In the last 10 years, has the quality of images improved? What are the reasons for the progress?
Yes, the quality of satellite imagery has improved tremendously in the last 10 years. The main reason for the progress is the cost to get to space has gone down tremendously thanks to companies like SpaceX. SpaceX has a program called "Rideshare". Because it's easier to get to space, this has allowed more companies to create products to put in space – driving competition and creating better products. With SkyFi, the average consumer now has access to similar technology that the governments around the world use, all from their phone.
How accurate are the maps? For example, can I see my house by downloading a highly detailed map?
As mentioned, the highest resolution we currently offer is 50 cm. With 50 cm, you cannot identify a person on the sidewalk. You may be able to identify a car, but you cannot see the license plate or any details. You are able to see houses and you can monitor change in development over time.
The "accuracy" of the images is much higher than Google Earth as we offer up-to-date images. Much of the images in Google Earth are up to three years out of date. When companies are making business decisions, they need the most accurate, up-to-date imagery and that is what we provide. Otherwise, when using a platform like Google Maps, you may be making a decision based on something that is no longer accurate.Visit SkyFi website