Hot: Real Estate Industry Uses of Satellite/Aerial Imagery

The combo of online maps, satellite/aerial imagery, and real estate are a hot combo these days. This new Reuters article, Every inch of Netherlands viewable online, offers a profile of a database that lists 75 percent of the Dutch property for sale and gets 2.6 million visitors every month. It will soon provide 15 million photographs growing it to 21 million images by year-end.

Full-circle pictures taken at 20 meter intervals (about 65 feet) in metropolitan areas and every 50 meters (about 165 feet) in rural areas will show the entire country at street level, with satellite images supplied by Google Earth offering a bird’s-eye view.

The local imagery comes from Cyclomedia, a company out of Delft Technical University.

With the release of Google Maps and Google Earth last year we saw numerous mashups that combine real estate listings with aerial and satellite imagery. Example include OnOneMap (UK) and HousingMaps (US).

We’ve also blogged about Google talking commercial real estate data source, CoStar, working together.

However, don’t forget that Google licenses most of it’s imagery from one of several sources including the USGS (anyone can download for free) and DigitalGlobe and they are not the only ones working with the real estate industry or power sites that merge real estate listings, aerial imagery, and maps. Here’s a quick list to a few others.

+ (Free)
Combines aerial imagery, local data, with real estate listings. Impressive!!!

+ MSN is also involved in the real estate industry. This Virtual Earth Blog post from about a week ago points out that they’re working with LoopNet, a provider of commercial real estate data. Screen caps are available and it’s likely that they’ll be adding the birds eye imagery that’s now part of Windows Live Local. MS licenses this imagery from Pictometry.

+ GlobeXplorer a company that provides a variety of satellite and aerial imagery services to both consumers and real estate professionals. One service the company released in the past few months is Property Analyst aimed at industy types. However, anyone can demo the service for free. The demo uses San Francisco County data. Look for the link on the right side of the page.

+ I haven’t read of any real estate industry uses of A9’s BlockView (street level) imagery but I would think that in some cases it might be of value. Btw, if you feel like wandering the streets of Paris and other cities in France and Spain, take a look at the street level imagery from Pages Jaunes. Chris wrote an intro to this service in 2004.

+ Finally, it’s great to see an aerial or satellite image but in some cases you also want to know about the precise location you’re viewing. Again, no word of real estate industry uses but like I’ve said many times, TerraFly from Florida International University does a great job of combining imagery with local data (census, crime stats, stores, etc.). U.S. only. More about TerraFly here.

+ Although Yahoo doesn’t offer any aerial imagery, property rental listings from Yahoo Real Estate now offers maps with listings placed directly on them.

Another company you might want to know about is Skyline Software. Free demos allow you to virtually “fly over” (3D too!) and then zoom-in on a bunch of cities including Chicago, San Diego, London and Sydney. VERY cool!!! They’re even offering a tool (free) allowing you to view the 2006 Dakar rally in 3D.

Postscript 2:
I mentioned earlier in this post that I didn’t know of any real estate uses of TerraFly Well, an email from Dr. Naphtali David Rishe, from Florida International University informed me that TerraFly has been working with the real estate industry including the Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches (RAMB) to offer TerraFly4Realtors.

From the email:

The RAMB members access TerraFly just either by logging in at or via deep links from MLS property listings. This TerraFly4Realtors application includes MLS listings overlaid on the imagery as well as detailed information on our local data page or Point Data Page, in addition to property lines in the Miami-Dade County area and drill-down property appraiser data..

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