How to know when you need an imagery basemap

Brett Marraccini, DigitalGlobe Sales EngineerUp until recently, imagery of the earth (in particular satellite imagery) was used primarily to learn more about remote locations and for scientific applications. With the advent of online and mobile mapping applications, imagery basemaps have become a cornerstone of location information for many end-users. Imagery basemaps provide baseline information about the earth, upon which specialized geographic data can be derived, compiled and overlaid in order to provide context around business decisions.

If you find yourself saying the following statements, an imagery basemap can be a solution for the problems you are trying to solve. When do you need a basemap?

I need wide area coverage for a global business application(s).

Projects that involve people or locations around the globe require an imagery solution which satisfies an important global requirement: coverage.

Imagery basemaps provide you with current and historical coverage over your entire project area – whether it is across multiple locations and countries, or even scaling across the entire globe.

I need data that keeps updated as changes happen.

If ground conditions didn’t change over time, you could get by with a single image of your projects or areas of interest and move toward other important tasks. But the world is constantly changing—and your data and imagery needs to adapt and detail those changes.

Therefore, many imagery basemaps are continually updated with newer imagery, and strategically prioritized to account for ongoing changes on our planet. This means that as high- and mid-resolution coverage of your areas expand over time and geography, you will continually have the most relevant information possible.

I need current and historical context in a specific area.

‘Creation Date’ is a typical metadata item which details when a specific dataset was captured, created and/or modified. This metadata element determines how relevant the dataset is to the problem which you are trying to solve. If your data is too old, it may not be relevant. Then your decisions may only be based on a partial picture. Imagery basemaps supply data off-the-shelf, as current as earlier this week and can go back years or even decades to the earliest images, so that you can see your area during the time that you need, including historical changes.

If one or all of these scenarios applies to your business needs, then the trick is finding which imagery basemap will support your business decisions across time and geography.

Check out our online overview, Basemap 101 which can help you choose the right basemap for your historical, current and future needs.