LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
In this issue, we begin our new series on the emerging imagery insights sector, or Geospatial Analytics-as-a-Service (GaaS or AaaS). In the article here, Kevin O’Connell and Marina Hague of Innovative Analytics write about this evolving field, including anticipating challenges as the companies approach the U.S. government as a customer.
We are seeing three categories of AaaS providers emerge: Those that also own and control the data by operating their own satellites, those that are building analytics platforms to leverage existing data, and those that do both. As is the case for many commercial data companies, such as weather data, competitors are often business partners as well, blurring the lines and sometimes causing confusion in the marketplace. As analytics companies continue to launch, current imagery providers will need to determine if each one is a threat or an opportunity.
In the article here, Matteo Luccio’s interviews with two executives in this field: Chuck Herring, CEO of AllSource Analysis; and Marc Fagan, CEO of Earth Observation Systems Data Analytics. We have been covering how the satellite imagery companies are now providing analytics (DigitalGlobe, Airbus, Planet, UrtheCast…). While we’ll continue this coverage, in future issues also watch for interviews of executives from companies like Descartes Labs, TellusLabs, Astro Digital, SpaceKnow, Vinsight, and Orbital Insight.
Some of these companies originally were planning to launch their own satellites, but have determined that they did not need to do so, and now are leveraging existing data and providing the analytics only. These include Ursa Space (which was featured in our Summer issue at https://apogeospatial.com/a-killer-app-for-sats) and OmniEarth (acquired by EagleView).
Astro Digital plans to launch their own medium-resolution satellites via dedicated launch partner Vector, a NewSpace company founded by original members of SpaceX. They are also developing their software platform, which streams imagery to clients’ applications via API, initially primarily for agriculture. BlackSky (SpaceFlight Industries) plans to launch a constellation of 60 high-resolution satellites by 2019, and also use data from other commercial providers for their analytics.
Con rming the high level of importance on this topic is Dylan Taylor, founder of Space Angels. He recently stated, “Transforming Earth observation and space-based data from telling me what’s going on to telling me what’s going to happen – predictive analytics – is a multitrillion-dollar opportunity.”
Dylan is also founder of Space for Humanity (www.SpaceForHumanity.org), a nonprofit that is “granting the gift of perspective” to non-astronauts to travel to the edge of space – elevating con- sciousness by elevating people. The objective is for more people to experience the change in perception that is experienced by those who see the Earth from space, called The Overview Effect; it changes the brain in the same way that a religious experience does. The point is similar, as well – perceiving that we are one, all connected, unified on this vulnerable tiny planet. No national boundaries are visible from space – only oneness.
The idea is that the more people can experience The Overview Effect for themselves, the more peace and unity will occur here on Earth. While SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin plan to provide access to space on commercial suborbital flights for paying customers, Space for Humanity will sponsor the rides for their participants, who will become Ambassadors, sharing their experiences and epiphanies. Participants will be chosen based on their 3-minute videos.
International Women’s Day is March 8, 2018; the theme is “Celebrating Women in Space!” Apogeo Spatial is thrilled to sponsor this event in Denver, Colorado, which will honor Cynda Collins Arsenault, President/Co-founder of Secure
World Foundation (a long-time partner of Apogeo Spatial), and feature astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American Woman in Space. The event includes a morning panel discussion open to the public, followed by the luncheon and keynote. For more info: www.worlddenver.org/international- womens-day. Join us!