There is an ever growing number of satellites being sent to space equipped with different cameras and sensors capable of sensing almost anything that can be seen in the ground. A variety of unique and new applications are now being offered to analyze how people move, communicate and explore our planet.
In the past, access to satellite imagery was very exclusive, available only to certain institutions in government and military. The cost of launching satellites was prohibitively expensive. Nowadays as the cost of space launch has fallen exponentially, access to satellite imagery has improved with increased competition and options available on the market.
Smart property assessment
With access to the latest very-high-resolution satellite imagery, real estate companies are able to access high-end visual information sources for conducting business. Compared to traditional line maps, satellite images provide up-to-date and more detailed information about the land and communities which the real estate industry serves.
Very high resolution satellite images provide highly detailed ground features such as trees, lawns, houses, roads, parks, and rivers. These images can be overlaid with various geospatial data such as road networks, zip codes, zoning data and other information that can help real estate developers find suitable areas for development.
Here are just a few sample applications that real estate professionals use very high resolution satellite images for:
- Evaluating zoning projects;
- Prospecting development opportunities and new investments;
- Suitability analysis for expansion and relocation;
- Monitoring construction projects development; and
- Measuring urban density and urban sprawl.
Five-year urban sprawl changes from various cities around the world
Part of smart property assessment is the application of computer vision and satellite image analysis. Satellite image analysis enables us to analyze how a location changes overtime or determine automatically small objects and large features on the imagery at a large scale, precisely and quickly through the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems applications.
When remote sensing and satellite imagery is applied to the real estate sector, regular access to satellite images and satellite imagery analysis application can:
- Detect changes to properties including its amenities and features;
- Detect property characteristics by identifying relevant assets such as the number of trees, swimming pools, property size; and
- Detect damage, whether man-made or natural disaster.
Pre and post satellite imagery that shows flooded properties on Paradise park during the Nebraska flooding last March 2019
Key benefits for real estate professionals
Image classification for real-estate and property assessment applications
As access to satellite imagery becomes increasingly available, we are seeing real estate companies capitalize on the following benefits of satellite imagery.
- Property Valuation
Real estate businesses that focused on financial and loans services such as banks benefit by being able to accurately view features and amenities on secured properties. Access to historical archives of images also allows us to estimate changes to the property and establish trends.
- Reduced travel costs
Access to satellite imagery provides real estate businesses the ability to monitor large area development properties remotely reducing the need for on-site inspections.
- Operations expense reduction
Information and insights derived from satellite images can provide tracking of changes over a development project so that property developers are able to receive a notification when their attention is needed.
- Systematic planning
Real estate companies can use the power of satellite imagery and geographic information systems by creating site suitability analysis on scouting locations for potential projects and development. By adding satellite imagery to the decision making process, it can speed up the due diligence process by eliminating sites that do not meet the investment criteria.
- Macro and Micro insights.
Access to a global repository of satellite constellations can help to monitor urban development changes on a large scale such as city-wide, region-wide or country-wide changes. This allows for a better understanding of how the market is changing in a certain area and this could also be used to have the opportunity to gain competitive insights amongst competitors.
5-year time-lapse of a housing development in Calgary, Canada