ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online allows us to do what we are better at doing, which is the analysis and applying the science and the expertise that we have. We don't have to be full-stack developers or DevOps teams. We can outsource that to Esri and just do what we're doing with the application.
Powerful Imagery Management Propels a Land-Use Monitoring App
A geospatial and remote sensing startup generates an ever-growing collection of imagery on behalf of its clients and needed to find a solution to effectively manage its data. The company chose a user-friendly cloud solution that helped improve file management and customer service without standing up its own infrastructure. The solution enabled the team to go to market with products faster, improve change detection analyses, provide custom deliverable goods to customers, and streamline processes.
Remotely sensed imagery is central to thousands of businesses around the globe, and while collections of imagery grow, it has become especially challenging to store and manage image files on local databases. In the case of Skytec, a geospatial and remote sensing startup, it serves myriad industries by acquiring and analyzing imagery data to inform executives on conditions related to major projects, service areas, or assets. It’s not hard to imagine how rapidly Skytec’s imagery collection is growing. As such, it requires more data storage options, efficient cataloging tools, a fast and straightforward workflow, and the ability to seamlessly share data with customers and across its organization.
In a recent case study, Esri discussed how Skytec uses unmanned aerial systems, remote sensing, and geographic information system (GIS) technology to support close monitoring of changes occurring in land, water, and wildlife. The company’s Ranger application, which leverages imagery and analytics, reveals significant changes to high priority areas; but the process for collecting this information was becoming time-consuming and strained Skytec’s limited resources. Due to the vast amounts of imagery used by the application, as well as the impact its data has on its customers’ businesses, Skytec’s team began looking for a better way to manage, store, analyze, and share that imagery. Being a small team of environmental scientists, the last thing it wanted was to worry about standing up infrastructure to host and share imagery. The team wanted something easy to deploy, scalable for growing demand, and cloud based.
One Solution with Multiple Advantages
ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online, a software as a service (SaaS) product, met the Skytec team’s need for hosting, analyzing, and streaming imagery and raster collections. The SaaS offering helps team members efficiently process and securely store imagery; plus, it has helped them go to market with products faster, improve change detection analyses, provide custom deliverable goods to customers, and streamline processes, all without standing up their own infrastructure.
Skytec leveraged on-the-fly image processing algorithms, also known as raster functions, in ArcGIS Online to quickly visualize change. Its customers can now view meaningful representations of change over any given area at any given time. Users can go into the application, zoom in on the imagery layer, and see current or previous images throughout the lifetime of their subscription. Customers have the option of monthly or quarterly monitoring or a custom interval.
Positive Outcomes for Years to Come
Skytec leaders have found that onboarding people, from customers to data analysts, is simple because ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online is user-friendly and easy to learn. It takes less time out of the day to get people up to speed internally and externally, and it has significantly improved change detection for customers. The team onboarded a new customer who immediately viewed two potential violations of conservation easements (boundary encroachments and harvesting), which was all done in a one-hour phone call.
Skytec’s staff can also provide its customers with deliverable goods much faster. After they get an email notification with a customer product request, the team members order the satellite imagery, and ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online gives them the information they need to respond quickly. For example, a recent request saw Skytec uploading imagery for a customer into the application within 24–48 hours after tasking a satellite.
When it comes to efficient management of imagery data, it’s especially key to avoid redundancy, which is another result Skytec has achieved with ArcGIS Online. Its on-the-fly processing capabilities enable users to avoid redundant storage. Skytec has reduced doubled efforts, as well as unnecessary storage, for their own company and their customers.
The comprehensive solution has given the team the ability to focus on the work they specialize in instead of infrastructure and development, as they don’t have to worry about the back end, database, structure, or security of the servers. With these new capabilities, this small organization has the same competencies as larger establishments and a growing competitive advantage.
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