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Where to find recent hi-res satellite imagery of my land?

 
pollinator
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Not sure what part of the forums to post this in, so I'm sorry if this is in the wrong spot.


I live in a very rural area of Missouri. I want a few good satellite photos of my land, so I can take a screenshot and label my trees.

I mean sure, I'd rather the government didn't have satellite photos of my land - but since they already do, most likely, I'd like photos too. =)

Unfortunately, since I'm far from an urban mega city, I have two problems: Most imagery of my land is either VERY low resolution (not near enough to make out individual trees), or VERY outdated (before I even planted the trees five years ago - actually most imagery is 7 years old, before I even fenced in my garden).

With a bazillion satellites in the sky, how come none of them seemingly have good shots of my land? I mean, on the one hand, I'm delighted about that. But on the other, seriously? 7 years old?

I've checked dozens and dozens of free services (starting with Google Earth ofcourse), and none have good shots.
My speculation is there's likely good shots out there, just not integrated into mainstream

I'm halfway tempted to just pay the local cropdusters (ugh!) who divebomb my house to take some arial photos for me, and give me digital copies, but I don't want him to go through the trouble only for me to find it's at dumb angles I can't use (I'll pay him anyway, but it'd be wasted money). Also, when the cropdusters are going through, leaves on trees have already sprouted - I'd much prefer (due to nearby tree lines) a good winter shot.

Any ideas?
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Can you post a detailed list of the websites/services that you tried that didn't work.
So far the following did not work
1) Google Map/Google Earth
2) Bing (I assume that did not work either)


I did a quick google search and quite a free company showed up. You can try signing up for their free 15day trial. Or just a 1 month fee. You can probably post your zip code, maybe so others can maybe help. Can you post a screenshot of what you are currently getting that you view as unacceptable/low-res
 
pollinator
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Hi Jamin,
I have the same problem as you do. All the satellite images I can find of the property are old and low-res and not useful to me at all. So I hope this post gets some answers! :-)

Bengi: what company are you referring to?
 
S Bengi
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Hi Bard,

I don't have a specific recommendation, but based on your description you are looking for a resolution of 0.5 meters or lower. This type of imagery is commercially available for the whole globe, usually shot within the last three years at most. There are multiple vendors for imagery like this (Bengi's Google search is a great start), but these types of images can be quite expensive, as they are usually marketed for specialist applications (in rural areas at least).

If they are too expensive for you, you have a couple of options:

1) Check if any of your local/in state Universities have a geography/agriculture/similar department. These departments should have ready access to high-res satellite imagery and if you write a nice email with the coordinates of your land, there is a chance that someone will just send you what you need.

2) Buy, rent or borrow a drone. Small quadcopter drones are readily accessible and, depending on the model, come with great cameras. They are easy to fly (check beforehand if you have the right hardware, like a smartphone or tablet) and virtually every drone will make higher resolution imagery than the best satellite you an access publicly, because it is so much closer to the subject
 
S. Bard
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Thanks Bengi.

This one is promising: https://zoom.earth/
Still not very hi-res for my location, but definitely more recent!
 
pollinator
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One thing to be aware of is Google Earth for most areas has an historic archive available under history (not available for mobile apps, just desktop). Bing maps sometimes sources their satellite imagery from a different source. I pulled up a random spot in rural Missouri and noted that for that area (Blinktown) the most recent images were from 2016, and additional 10 images stretching back to 1995 (the only b/w image)

I know the interest is primarily recent, hi-rez images, but many areas have older black and white aerial images that inform you, for example a college put the high resolution aerial images for 1948, 1960 and 1968 online for our county and these have been useful tracking areas that once were cleared and in one case the image is marked up with detailed information on streams and ponds as well as a lot of info I haven’t deciphered yet (much more detailed than the current soil maps). I’ve overlaid the older historic images and modern satellite images for our place over Lidar derived maps in a graphic app that allows layers. This has been extremely interesting and useful in a variety of ways. One thing I’m looking into is having the lidar data printed into a three dimensional model of our land onto which we can add detail. I was considering sculpting such a model, but getting a handmade model to be anywhere near accurate would take a lot of work. For our field we were thinking of sourcing a white board to plot areas of plantings, but I’m leaning toward seeing if we can source an old slate chalkboard. I’ve seen so many large ones being sold cheap as they are heavy to move and take up a lot of space.

Instead of the crop dusters, perhaps someone has a good drone setup who could provide detailed aerial images. There are folks who provide this service. Honestly, the drones are getting so inexpensive you could do your own aerials. I believe they can be programmed to fly a pattern and take photos in sequence that can later be stitched together.

I had a landlord once, an elderly lady who had built a house on her property and rented out her ramshackle cabin (all mod cons). When the new house was planned they had a survey done of their 3 acres and had every large tree noted on the survey. I’ve seen the way this was done historically using a plane table on which locations of trees can be plotted using an alidade. There’s no reason someone couldn’t, for a smallish area, approximate a fairly accurate plot of their trees using a decent compass, paper and pencil and pacing off the distances (not saying this would replace a proper survey where boundaries or building legalities are involved). The advantage of doing it this way interesting details of terrain, flora and fauna can also be noted.



CDD58FB3-E4F2-400D-9EA2-68E003AAAD91.png
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Have you tried the othroimagery available from USGS? The National Map Viewer
 
James Whitelaw
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One additional resource I had forgotten for satellite is Apple Maps. Although the images of my land are not as good as the recent Google Earth views, but I was looking at a parcel in another state and noticed a much more recent image and higher rez of my place.
 
Jamin Grey
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S Bengi wrote:Can you post a detailed list of the websites/services that you tried that didn't work.
So far the following did not work
1) Google Map/Google Earth
2) Bing (I assume that did not work either)



I've tried a dozen or so over the years, last year I spent six or so hours, and the year before that, about the same. Because I don't do GIS or deal with maps in some scientific capacity, it's possible I'm using the services wrong.

Anyway, today, I tried:
Bing Maps: Too old, too high up

ZoomEarth gets me up to 2015 - about a month or two before I first planted my trees. =(...
(Really, I need Fall 2017 or later, I guess, now that I think of it)

USGS's "The National Map Advanced Viewer" can't get closer than 600 ft zoom without map data failing to load? (Screen just goes white and stays there, until I zoom a step out)
Though from a distance, it looks like it's reasonably modern data (2018?).

USGS's "EarthExplorer" had a similar problem (both are using ESRI World Imagery).

But actually, Apple Maps - which James Whitelaw mentioned (thank you, James!) - had a fairly recent map (last fall?), that, while still a tad too far away and lowres, is usable for what I want as my tree locations are clearly shown (mostly because it caught a good window where I had recently mowed around all the trees).
(To use 'Apple Maps' on PC, go to DuckDuckGo.com, hit the 'Map' tab)

I'd still like one better than Apple Maps, but this solves my immediate need.
 
gardener
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https://www.planet.com/ will give you the best quality, up-to-date satellite photos from my experience. You can get a free trial to get a photo or two. The downside is once your trial expires, you can't really get any additional photos.
 
Nicky McGrath
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Jamin, you're probably using the applications fine. I do happen to be/was a GIS Technician and though I don't have experience searching for US imagery, there isn't a resource that sticks out in my mind as having superior quality or resolution beyond the sources you've already looked at.  The best imagery I used was provided by the government for one of their projects. So yes, it is out there, but ya, you'll probably have to pay.


Just saw Kyles post...neat!
 
pioneer
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If a property shows usefully current images on Google, this may work.

-> Google Maps / enter address
-> select Satellite
-> select yellow person icon at lower right which correlates to "Street View Images"
-> may need to scroll down a little to see if images are available on the left side of the screen, if so select an image beneath "Photos".
-> select + plus sign at the bottom right to zoom in
-> hover cursor over the image
-> left click on the hand(?) icon to drag the cursor around for a 360 degree view

If these directions work, an image like the one attached here should appear.

This link shows how a street view can look.  There is a directional finder which is not obvious.  If you left click left or right of the center, the image is repositioned.  Sometimes useful.  When the cursor is left click/dragged to the left or right, as the image moves a compass (at the right side of the screen) should appear indicating direction.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/103+National+Ln,+Williamsburg,+VA+23185/@37.2807349,-76.6715536,3a,75y,199.49h,89.65t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s4h1LLOJSLLzteXQRYByWlQ!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3D4h1LLOJSLLzteXQRYByWlQ%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dsearch.gws-prod.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D360%26h%3D120%26yaw%3D192.33014%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x89b088e936222a13:0xf033f9f84967a5ed!8m2!3d37.2804752!4d-76.6716208
Screenshot-at-2020-02-23-00-22-31.jpg
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thanks for all the links everyone
i enjoy finding new imagery

i used to use terraserver
i was able to get some nice up to date imagery before they changed the viewer

then i used digital globe:

https://discover.digitalglobe.com/

not the greatest resolution but in 2018 at least they had many updates per year
then in 2019 there was only 1
none so far in 2020

the highest resolution i could find was a gov of canada site
much better resolution than google etc
i screen captured 88 images.... printed them and taped them together making a 7' by 7' map
 
Jamin Grey
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.

Nearmap also looks interesting, but probably focuses more on Urban areas and doesn't offer free trials.
https://www.nearmap.com/


Based off suggestions, I just tried:
https://discover.digitalglobe.com/
https://www.planet.com/explorer/

Alas, too low resolution. =(...

I feel like George Clooney in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?': "Well ain't this the geological oddity - exactly three weeks from everything.", except, I've chosen to live here, for exactly that reason. =)
 
pollinator
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My understanding of satellite imagery is that most of it comes from corporations, and they don't bother taking/keeping/releasing photos unless someone buys one. And then they sell that great quality photo to others for cheap. So unless there's a resource project planned, you may be out of luck on good quality imagery.  

A good resource for historical imagery is local universities. Many universities (at least in canada) have air photo libraries of the surrounding areas, sometimes quite distant from the university, that you can view for free and usually copy for free or cheap. You can also order air photos in Canada from the government. It's a great resource if you are trying to figure out the historical land use for a property.

The USGS used to have some decent satellite imagery available, as well as good DEMs (digital elevation models), but they changed their website and I don't have the current link to where to download files easily. Maybe try this one: https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/


Oh - and maybe we are looking too high tech. Aerial photography is better quality than satellite anyways - got any friends or children of friends with drones? Or maybe you could advertise online "will pay $20 for a drone photo of the property".

 
Nicky McGrath
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Catie George wrote:You can also order air photos in Canada from the government. It's a great resource if you are trying to figure out the historical land use for a property.



Oh, I used to do this for work. Had to geolocate the images, and got to see how areas had changed over time; I loved it.
 
M. Phelps
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google maps has a feature where you can view the past images kind of like a timelapse as well

i just double checked and the site i use only works in ontario... but since there are a bunch of people from ontario here....

https://www.gisapplication.lrc.gov.on.ca/Html5Viewer261/index.html?viewer=mlas.mlas&locale=en-US
 
Yeah, but how did the squirrel get in there? Was it because of the tiny ad?
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