I received an email from DigitalGlobe regarding their ability to deliver imagery within 45 days of a tasking order up to 500 Km2 from their constellation of satellites. A tasking order is a request to capture imagery over a specific area with a specific sensor at a specific time. Usually, most buyers purchase off-the-shelf imagery that were previously obtained during satellite passes throughout the year or past several years. DigitalGlobe’s objective is to more quickly provide imagery, and in light of the recent events in Haiti, the demand for remotely-sensed data of recent vintage is growing. (See other information regarding DigitalGlobe’s tasking options [pdf])
DigitalGlobe is also promising that, once received, the company will offer a 10-day money-back guarantee. This is a smart move since, the company is offering data from their entire constellation, not any particular satellite. So, if the customer is not happy with the amount of cloud cover or resolution, they may return the imagery.
GeoEye’s standard, published delivery time for a new order requiring collection is 60 days. GeoEye offers the ability to shorten that time with a tasking fee.
So, it’s clear that both satellite data companies want to make it known just how quickly they can turn around imagery, if asked to to do. I think we’ll see that each company will seek to exploit this kind of competitive advantage over the coming years.