If you have $175 and a smartphone or computer, you can capture high-resolution satellite images anywhere on Earth using SkyFi. It’s an app for iOS, Android and web browsers that lets users capture multispectral and optical photos and video. The service will be expanded soon to include radar, hyperspectral and nighttime photos.
SkyFi will also include tools for detecting objects and observing changes over time, which will greatly enhance SkyFi’s utility for academic and scientific work. Accessing affordable high-resolution satellite imagery is a boon for students and scientists who otherwise would have been priced out of aerial photography. SkyFi is also valuable for agriculture, forestry, insurance and urban planning.
SkyFi’s mission is to ‘democratize satellite film and imaging. What was once a high-tech process is now simple, affordable and accessible to everyone.’ Within the SkyFi app, you can choose any place on the planet and SkyFi will deliver a high-resolution image of that location that you can purchase and keep forever. As of now, SkyFi uses a network of more than 80 satellites.
Using the app, you can view existing images of a selected location or place a new order, including your chosen capture date and time frame. While you can’t specify the exact time an image is captured, you can select between day and night. While the full suite of imaging tools isn’t yet available, you can order high-resolution optical, multispectral and even stereo images for a 3D modeling project.
If you find an existing image that suits your needs, pricing starts at $20. A single new image is $175. The size (measured in sq. km., 5 sq. km. minimum) and resolution (medium, high and very high are available) determines the final cost. You can also order a priority rush on new images for an additional fee. You can view the pricing information for existing and new images below.
|SkyFi price schedule|
Last week, SkyFi announced a partnership with Sen to distribute UHD video. Sen launched its first satellite in January 2022, with plans to launch two more by 2024. The low-earth orbit satellite captures live and recorded video using four cameras and captures 8K video with 1.5-meter pixel size. The agreement with Sen brings SkyFi’s list of partners to 25.
While SkyFi is an affordable satellite service, it’s not the only game in town – or space. Sony recently announced Star Sphere, a project that allows users to operate an orbiting nanosatellite to capture never-before-seen perspectives. The satellite takes about 90 minutes to orbit Earth, and users can purchase 10-minute windows during that orbital period to shoot around 50 photos or 30 seconds of video. It appears that additional photos and video will be available for an extra charge.
Star Sphere, which hasn’t officially launched, will orbit between 500 and 600 km (about 310-770 mi) above Earth. The satellite has a full-frame Sony Alpha mirrorless camera and a 28-135mm F4 zoom lens. Users will be able to control ISO, aperture and shutter speed remotely. The satellite will follow one of 16 possible orbits around the globe. Unlike SkyFi, pricing is not yet available for Star Sphere. For more information, click here.