Frequently asked questions

Browse our frequently asked questions below. If you have more questions or would like to see Lens in action, schedule a demo with our team today.

What is Lens?

Lens is a web-based application that allows you and your team to monitor landscapes with ease and efficiency. Lens saves our customers time and money by making it easy for you to access satellite, aerial, and environmental data, analyze site conditions, and generate reports.

What is Lens used for?

Lens is used by over 170 organizations for a wide variety of uses including conservation land monitoring, natural resource management, and project planning and diligence. Our customers include non-profit conservation organizations, ecological restoration firms, philanthropic funders, Fortune 500 companies, carbon project investors, and more.

What can I do in Lens?

In Lens, you can:

  • ‍Review free, public imagery and data to see how your site has changed over time
  • ‍Order high-resolution imagery from a range of satellite and aerial vendors
  • ‍Compare images with a built-in slider bar to identify changes and create notes about your observations
  • ‍Work collaboratively with colleagues to review site conditions
  • ‍Generate detailed reports with one click
  • ‍Analyze short- and long-term trends in vegetation, surface water and land use changes
  • ‍Receive alerts right to your inbox when there’s a drop in vegetation cover or change in US tax parcel ownership for any of your sites

What imagery is available in Lens?

Lens is like a “buyers’ club” for commercial satellite and aerial imagery - we aggregate imagery from all the top sources with competitive pricing, allowing you to choose the best possible image for your needs. Maxar, Airbus, and Nearmap imagery are all available for purchase in Lens at the rates listed on our pricing page. Lens customers can also order custom imagery and basemaps from Planet, Airbus, and Near Space Labs. We also include up-to-date data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellites at no extra cost, as well NAIP aerial flyovers in the US, and Planet-NICFI PlanetScope basemaps in tropical areas.

Where does Lens work?

Lens works globally. Certain data sources may vary in geographic coverage – you can learn more here.

Is Lens similar to Google Earth?

Sort of! If you’ve used Google Earth, the data you see in Lens might look really familiar and you’ll have no trouble finding your way around. In Lens, however, you’re able to access much more data, and you’re able to select images from specific points in time to make the most reliable observations possible. While Google Earth might update coverage for your area every few years, in Lens you’re typically able to access many images each year, often within 24 hours of capture. With this higher-frequency data, you can make more precise observations and be sure that you have the most reliable insight possible.

How often will I see imagery of my sites?

It depends. Lens aggregates imagery options from various remote sensing data providers. The geographic coverage, timing, and specifications of the data we offer vary, giving you the ability to choose exactly what works best for your monitoring needs. Commercial imagery vendors do not guarantee coverage over specific geographies at specific times of year. If you’d like additional control over the imagery capture process, we also make it easy to “task” imagery on demand from our vendor partners. Non-commercial data sources like Sentinel-2 or NICFI capture imagery at a regular cadence, in these cases every 5 days and every month, respectively.

What spatial resolution is the imagery in Lens?

We make all sorts of data options available in Lens with spatial resolution as fine as 30-cm, so you can use whichever options best fit your needs . You can find a comparison of current imagery sources and their resolutions here.

How do I buy imagery in Lens and is there a minimum requirement?

In Lens you only pay for what you need. When ordering imagery through Lens, we’ll charge a cents per acre fee for the area within your property boundaries. And any public imagery and data comes free with Lens.

For commercial sub-meter imagery you’ll pay $0.06 per acre, and $0.04 per acre for commercial imagery at a 1m spatial resolution or greater. Depending on how large your properties are in Lens, you’d pay on average $5 for a high-resolution image of a 100-acre (40 hectare) site.  

And if you have large properties, we even have a partial ordering feature so you can order and pay for a specific area of interest on your site.

Can I use Lens for historic review of sites?

You sure can! Many of our customers use Lens to see the history of their project sites. How far back you can look will depend on a lot of factors, and satellite data has gotten even better in the last few years. Some of our imagery sources go back as far as 2003, and we also work with satellites that just launched in the last year. You can generally expect to see pretty consistent coverage of sites starting around 2014.

What if I have previously purchased my own imagery? Can I work with it in Lens?

For our Enterprise subscribers, we can import your imagery if it's in the right format. This may result in an extra fee for storage and processing depending on the scale of your need. Reach out if you have specific questions about your data needs.

Will Lens play well with the other tools I use?

We make it easy for you to connect Lens with other commonly-used platforms like Landscape and ArcGIS. We also provide API access for custom integrations to our Enterprise subscribers. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out.

Can I add teammates to my account?

Absolutely! Lens is meant to be collaborative so you and your colleagues have a shared source of truth for data and interpretation. You can invite others on your team to your Lens account, and customize permissions based on their role. Our plans also have different seat limits, so you can determine which one is best based on the size of your team.

Where can I find the fine print?

We keep our license and user agreements updated here for you to reference anytime.

How do I get started?

Hop over to our signup page to get started today!