Air & Space Evidence

The World’s First Space Detective Agency


A major benefit of using Earth observation data in an evidential context is that vast quantities of data are collected daily and then archived, and can then be purchased from image suppliers. Whilst there are commercial archives in place, many of those in the legal and insurance sectors would find it extremely hard and time consuming to locate data from image suppliers themselves. These Earth observation data archives and portals can be a challenge for non-scientists to use, and to check whether there is imagery relevant to an individual case needs one might have to track down and access large numbers of individual distributors’ websites.

We will do the hard work of locating data for you. We are fluent with the key Earth observation web portals and can attempt to locate any suitable imagery for you.

What we would need from you

 To assist you in finding imagery that might be useful as evidence we would expect the client to be fairly specific about their request and to supply as much of the following information as possible.

1. The location of the ‘event’.

2. Temporal information (time-span for when the imagery will be relevant).

3. Information about whether ‘before’ and ‘after’ imagery will be required.

4. Basic information about what you are trying to see, or demonstrate.

The quality of data coming from Earth observation technologies that may be useful as evidence depends on each individual case and what a lawyer or other investigator wants it to show. After being given the above information we will tell you whether we think Earth observation data might be useful in your particular case. We will not over-sell or over-hype the technology – just give you an honest assessment of whether a portal search should be undertaken.

What we would give you

If we undertake a portal search you will receive a report advising on the following points.

1. Whether there is suitable imagery that meets your  requirements. There are major archives of historical imagery but in some cases, Earth observation technologies will be temporally unsuitable to react to specific events. For example, there will obviously be less chance of sourcing an image showing a road accident taking place, than the approximate timings of when an adverse possession claim on an area of land began.  We will let you know all of the times/dates that imagery is available over a certain time period.

2. We can report on the specific characteristics on the imagery in detail, and give the client an indication as to whether this is compatible with their expectations, or legal needs. The advantage of using Air & Space Evidence is that we are highly experienced with the technical side but have a very clear understanding of the legal issues too.

3. We will give a technical assessment on the quality of the data (e.g. on spatial resolution, number of wavebands, cloud cover implications).

4. The total cost of purchasing an image or images from a supplier’s archive. Imagery comes in many different configurations, and also costs. Some imagery is free of charge. You are under no obligation to purchase any of the imagery, but if there is imagery that you consider (after advice from us) that could help support a legal case then we can assist in ordering this imagery for you.


Background Image Copyright: © CNES 2006, Distribution Airbus DS/Spot Image