This Digital Service Lets you take satellite photos of anywhere on Earth

satellite photo of shore and city

What if you want a guaranteed high-res photo of a specific place on Earth, and want to ensure that it ramps up the detail? SkyFi has got you covered.

We all know about and regularly use Google Earth, Google Maps and many other free online services. Their global coverage of good-to-mediocre satellite imagery for pretty much anywhere on earth is infinitely handy and free.

 However, as anyone who’s used these knows, the image quality can seriously vary, and doesn’t always resolve fine details (or even big ones) well.

SkyFi’s new service hopes to change that for a pretty reasonable price. The company has launched a new app for iOS, Android, and for web browsers that lets anyone at all access or request high-resolution photos of any place on Earth.

The most unique things about this are that you can order from existing databases of photos and have them ready for download in minutes, or you can order a specific photo to be taken just for you.

Both services come with a “High Resolution Daytime” photo option and a slightly more expensive “Very High Resolution Daytime” photo option.  Best of all, they’re offered under a very simple and honestly, remarkably affordable pricing system.

For downloading from SkyFi’s databases of previously taken satellite photos, pricing starts at $4 per square kilometer with a minimum image size of 5 square kilometers, or $20.

SkyFi pricing screenshot

Image credit: SkyFi

For Very High Resolution Photos of existing images, SkyFi hasn’t yet decided on a price, but it too will come with a minimum order size of 5 square kilometers.

The resolution of the Hi-Res photos is down to the one-meter level and the resolution of the Very High Resolution photos is 50 cm or less, which is indeed impressive.

As for custom photo requests, they’re priced at $7.00 per square kilometer but with a minimum order size of 25 square kilometers. This amounts to $175 per order.

We don’t know exactly how good the quality of these so-called “High Resolution” and “Very High Resolution” images is, but according to SkyFi, an average 5 sq km High Res image file has a size of 5 megabytes, while a Very High Res version of 25 square km amounts to roughly 50 megabytes.

Considering that you get your own specially ordered satellite photo, taken by an actual satellite in orbit according to your orders, this seems pretty cool for something that just a couple of decades ago would have only been available to large corporations or governments.

 SkyFi also plans to offer users the option of selecting multispectral photos and even video of targets and will start expanding its service to include radar imagery, nighttime photos and advanced analysis tools in the coming months.

Other services will follow, including object detection and object change capabilities. Overall, wow.

SkyFi, a company founded by people who describe themselves as explorers, scientists, analysts and engineers, states:

“We’re putting the power of technology back into the hands of the people. Instead of satellites offering exclusive access to a select few, we’re democratizing space to make it available for everyone,”

screenshot of skyfi homepage

Considering the scope of what their service now offers, it’s hard not to take their mission statement seriously.

SkyFi’s founders say they discovered how hard it was to obtain high-quality, specialized satellite photos when they were trying to learn more about the oil, gas and shipping industries.

“From NDAs to licensing agreements to endless contracts and phone calls, it was far from simple to get even just a single image. Instead of settling for the miles and miles of red tape and bureaucracy, they decided to do something about it: democratize satellite technology for everyone.”

This then prompted them to pool their effort, form a company and raise $10 million in seed capital to offer photos of anywhere on earth on demand. Interested users can start using the service immediately.

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Shotkit Journalist, Writer & Reviewer

Stephan Jukic is a technology and photography journalist and experimental photographer who spends his time living in both Canada and Mexico. He loves cross-cultural street photo exploration and creating fine art photo compositions.

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