Is Real-Time Monitoring Possible?

• General

Is Real-Time Monitoring Possible?

Making remote sensing data useful.

  • Problem: Slow data transfer.
  • Solution: Satellite, cloud technology cuts time.
  • Benefit: Actionable alerts direct resources.

Over the years, we’ve engaged in many conversations with potential customers setting the record straight on “real-time monitoring.” This is an inaccurate claim made by those who are more concerned with hype than delivery of promises. Can the family of remote sensing capabilities really provide real-time monitoring for large infrastructure areas? Spoiler alert: they cannot, not even Satelytics.

Real-time monitoring is instantaneous. An example of real-time monitoring technology is an advanced SCADA system that acquires equipment conditions multiple times per second and calculates conditions outside of the norm for an entire asset. Other examples include internal pipeline leak detection systems and digital twins for offshore platforms with the fastest fiber connections. The response time for these systems is often counted in seconds.

Geospatial analytics offered by Satelytics are not “real-time,” but rather near real-time. We instead focus on the delivery of actionable alerts within hours of satellite data capture — a feat unmatched by most — providing timely notification of threats.

How Quickly is Data Transformed into Actionable Results?

After a satellite image is captured, how does that dataset become useful and actionable? There are several keys to making remote sensing data actionable and timely:

  1. High spatial resolution. Only objects larger than the spatial resolution offered by the sensor can be identified. Satelytics uses the highest-resolution satellite imagery available. In most cases, this is 30-50 centimeters — fine enough to see something the size of a dinner plate. For methane leak detection, we use the best available commercial imagery: 3.7-meter resolution. In both cases, this allows us to specify the location and magnitude of a problem with great precision.
  2. Time to capture data. A drone can capture a few square miles per day. A fixed-wing aircraft can capture a few hundred square miles per day. A satellite can capture thousands of square miles in a matter of minutes. Many companies today are exploring the use of drones to accomplish remote sensing functions, but this may not be viable to cover large asset fleets spread over vast geographic areas (i.e. pipelines, electrical transmission lines, oil field assets).
  3. Data transfer speed. High-resolution data results in more pixels and larger datasets. It takes time to move massive datasets to the cloud for processing. Satellites overcome this by streaming the data constantly via a vast network of downlink stations, enabling the transfer of terabytes of data in a matter of minutes. Conversely, drones and fixed-wing aircraft platforms often require the physical transfer of a hard drive, then the intermediate transfer of the data off that hard drive, before uploading the data to the cloud after the hard drive finally arrives at a location with suitable internet infrastructure.
  4. Analyzing large datasets. A potential customer informed us they had a team of engineers review thousands of images for planning a new electric transmission line right-of-way. This process took their team two months! Another said they typically wait three to four months for lidar results to be returned to them! What use is the data that long after an event or unwanted condition is observed?

Satelytics’ algorithms analyze spectral signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum. They do so in the cloud, enabling us to analyze large datasets, measuring every pixel every time. With cloud computing and proven AI-powered analytics, the time from satellite overpass to analytical results can be as little as hours. While not in real-time, we deliver actionable alerts in time to direct action to resolve problems.

Satelytics uses cloud computing and AI to deliver results in hours.

Satelytics uses cloud computing and AI to deliver results in hours.

Dig past the hype: seek the truth from experts and ask the questions implied above. Industry is just beginning to learn the value of geospatial analytics. That learning process only advances with accurate information. Let Satelytics help you solve multiple business challenges in as close to real-time as possible.

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