When it comes to delivering consistent aerial imagery data at a national scale year after year, there are three companies that are beginning to stand out from the rest of the competition. We’re going to compare three of the top companies operating large-scale imagery collection programs in EagleView vs Nearmap vs Hexagon.
The development of different imagery delivery methods has made purchasing imagery more affordable for key government sectors (transportation, public safety, environment). In addition to government usage, industries including mining, utility companies, natural resources (oil/gas), real estate, insurance, and solar companies are beginning to utilize imagery from these three providers in different ways. The benefits of purchasing licensed, of-the-shelf imagery products are changing the way government and businesses think about acquiring imagery data products (more on that here).
When it comes to nationwide imagery collection programs, 15 cm resolution imagery for urban areas and 30 cm imagery for rural areas are a common standard (IAAO’s Mass Appraisal for Real Property (MARP) standard). New technologies — cameras, processing methods, collection platforms (i.e. drones), and cloud storage — are driving the potential for even higher resolution. These three companies provide highly accurate, high performance imagery data. Characteristics that define these imagery data collection programs are resolution, collection frequency, and positional accuracy. Collection schedules range from bi-annual collections to every two-to-three years. We’re going to focus on some qualitative metrics below, while offering up our comparison guide for technical specifications.
Where are these companies located? Where do they do business?
EagleView: EagleView is the largest provider of oblique imagery in the country with their flagship product, Pictometry®. Eagleview was one of the very first companies to perform dedicated aerial imagery collections when they started in 2008. EagleView focuses their efforts on the United States. Eagleview is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Their workhorse Pentasensor camera captures oblique and ortho imagery at the same time, and they tend to fly the entire U.S. every year, coast-to-coast. EagleView has developed and is rolling out a new camera system, REVEAL(C), that delivers 3/4 inch oblique imagery and 7.5 cm orthoimagery.
Nearmap: A relative newcomer to the United States imagery space, Nearmap was founded in Australia in 2012. Nearmap focuses their efforts on Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (now covering more than ⅔ of the U.S. population). Nearmap went public on November 10th, 2017, and their stock has jumped more than 400% since that time (as of August, 2019). Nearmap is one of the fastest growing competitors in the sub-meter aerial imagery space, but they seem to be shifting their model towards urban areas. Nearmap does not fly rural areas nearly as often as it flies urban cores, and this seems to be the bread-and-butter of their collection patterns.
Hexagon (HxGN Content Program): Hexagon AB, the parent company of the HxGN Content Program, is headquartered in Sweden and has been collecting imagery since June 2014. Also the owners of Leica, Hexagon builds their imagery brand as having unparalleled photogrammetric accuracy. Hexagon has a long period of QA between when the imagery is flown and when it is released, with a dedicated team in Atlanta, Georgia providing quality control checks. HxGN Content Program focuses the delivery of their imagery content for the United States (coast-to-coast) and most of continental Europe (in addition to Canada).
Technical Comparison: EagleView vs Nearmap vs Hexagon
For an in-depth look at feature comparisons between these three imagery vendors, be sure to download the 2019 Aerial Imagery Provider Comparison Guide. Here you will find specific comparison specifications between these (and other) top aerial and satellite imagery providers. In the guide, we dive deep into feature specs like RMSE, light spectrums, and many more important factors to consider when purchasing aerial imagery.