Satellite-Imagery Shopping Made Simple

BlackSky Creates an ‘Amazon’ for Geospatial Imagery, Analysis


Online retailers such as Amazon have made shopping for clothes, groceries, and gifts easy, fast, and intuitive. Spaceflight Industries aims to do the same for commercial satellite imagery with its BlackSky (Booth 1424) global intelligence service, which will be on display during GEOINT 2017.

Launched in December, BlackSky offers two major capabilities: imagery and insights. The former allows users to discover, purchase, and download high-resolution imagery from 16 satellites operated by the likes of UrtheCast (Booth 1213) and Airbus (Booth 833). The latter provides users with data feeds curated by location (e.g., port, pipeline, border) or theme (e.g., geopolitical conflict, natural disaster, energy, health/outbreak).

“BlackSky fuses satellite imagery with a variety of data sources such as social media and news feeds,” said Jodi Sorensen, the company’s vice president of marketing communications. “Using machine learning and other techniques, we crunch that data and rank its relevancy against customer preferences. Then, we send customized alerts to organizations so they can make timely, informed decisions.”

Users can even task satellite constellations to collect custom imagery of specific places, at specific intervals, and at specific resolutions. The intelligence is sophisticated, but the process is simple.

“We strive to make the user experience as easy as Amazon. You find an image in the archive—or task a satellite directly—add it to your shopping cart, then determine how you want it be delivered, all from a single web-based interface,” continued Sorensen.

Symposium attendees are invited to take BlackSky for a spin at its booth, where the company is hosting a local craft beer tasting Monday from 3 to 5 p.m.

“Historically, purchasing satellite images has been difficult and time-consuming, which has limited its usage—especially in the commercial sector,” Sorensen said. “We’re trying to break that paradigm.”

Image courtesy of BlackSky

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