Welcome to the first issue of Earth Imaging Journal under the ownership of V1 Media. Our team is excited to join old friends who share a passion for the promise and power of remote sensing and related geospatial technologies.
Now is a great time to be involved in Earth observation, with the proliferation of smallsats and unmanned aircraft systems set to greatly enhance the monitoring and understanding of our planet. In addition to increased frequency of observations, new remote sensing capabilities are coming online that will dramatically expand our insight.
But it’s also a time of considerable frustration. With so many new technologies being applied, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with all the innovation taking place. The technology’s exposure in the popular press leads to many myths that need to be dispelled. Moreover, much of the new technology has resulted in increased capacity that needs to be monetized to ensure market expansion.
This combination of innovation and disruption makes for a perfect mix for a publisher. We’re here to foster community, deliver a steady and timely resource to help you keep abreast of innovation, and provide a record that reflects the evolution of our ever-changing industry.
This year has brought many firsts to the Earth observation community, including a record number of smallsats launched, some breathtaking new imaging capabilities and a removal of restrictions on high-resolution satellite imagery. These advancements have been accompanied by tempering forces, such as launch failures and a somewhat distrustful public.
DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite is a perfect example of the industry’s one step forward and one step back atmosphere, as this technological leap forward has been accompanied by a cool response. As a publicly traded company, DigitalGlobe’s stock price is a barometer of success, and the company’s stock has tumbled, losing 35 percent of its price since January 2014. The Economist weighed in with a critical article in early November 2014 (http://econ.st/1uLCrLW) with the provocative title “When Bigger Isn’t Better,” which pays short shrift to the many advancements on DigitalGlobe’s new sensor platform.
Despite the negative press, we’re bullish on DigitalGlobe’s future financial prospects as well as those of all other imagery and geospatial data providers. Although today’s ever-increasing imaging capacity is met with a complex mix of economic and regulatory forces, such proliferation also provides a perfect storm for big data processing innovations that will create increasing value.
The world pays for quicker insight, as evidenced by Spread Networks’ recent initiative to lay the shortest-path private fiber optic network between Chicago and New York at a cost of $300 million for a 13-millisecond round-trip connection. The company has benefited from the rise of high-frequency trading and the fact the network delivers a 50 percent performance improvement compared with any other route or provider.
Speed is money when it comes to markets, and that’s also true with any unique view that provides an insight advantage. Soon the unique vantage point of Earth observation will have its own speed advantage thanks to Airbus Defence and Space’s construction of the science-fiction-sounding Space Data Highway.
When the two worlds of space-based laser communication and high-resolution satellite imagery meet, real-time image delivery from space will become a reality. We’re thrilled to be present and engaged to help you understand and navigate the implications of such initiatives, and we hope you turn to us as a resource as well as a conduit for your own news and ideas.
— Matt Ball, founder and editorial director, V1 Media