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: EagleView vs Nearmap vs Sanborn.

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 utilize imagery from these three providers in different ways.

In regards 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), and demand for 7.5 cm resolution is increasing. 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. We’re going to focus on some qualitative metrics below, while offering up our comparison guide for technical specifications.

Check Out the Definitive Aerial Imagery Provider Comparison Guide Here

Where are these companies located? Where do they do business?

EagleView: EagleView is one of the largest providers of oblique imagery in the country with their flagship product, EagleView Cloud. Eagleview (Pictometry) 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 orthogonal imagery at the same time, and they tend to fly the entire U.S. every year, coast-to-coast.

Nearmap: 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 is one of the fastest growing competitors in the sub-meter aerial imagery space with an emphasis on capturing 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.

The Sanborn Map Company Many know the name Sanborn from their fire insurance maps of the United States. Over the past twenty years, Sanborn has transformed itself into a large-scale provider of ortho imagery, oblique imagery, and lidar data. Sanborn’s fleet of planes and variety of sensors allows a great deal of flexibility in custom aerial imagery collection, with resolutions of up to 2.5 inches. Sanborn is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and flies nationwide. They are particularly strong in their lidar offerings. Sanborn’s Oblique Analyst research and measurement tool is also a great option as an alternative to EagleView Cloud.

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 2022 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.