Industry Updates

by | Dec 2, 2011

DigitalGlobe Wins Value-Added Services Contract

A series of images from the USGS Landsat archive shows the evolution of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The 1975 image (left) shows some construction and the early development of the plant's cooling pond. The 1986 image (middle) was acquired three days after a reactor had a massive accident and was destroyed. The agricultural fields shown in the 1975 and 1986 images were abandoned and left untended as the surrounding region was evacuated. The 2011 image (right) reveals that all of the fields have reverted to grassland.

DigitalGlobe was awarded a one-year, $37.9 million contract via the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) under NGA's new Enhanced GEOINT Delivery (EGD) program.

The award will enable value-added support to NGA, as DigitalGlobe continues to meet more advanced imagery requirements and provide final product deliverables. In addition, the award advances the production capabilities of the company's Rapid Delivery of Online Geospatial Intelligence (RDOG) capability, which NGA has used since 2009 to develop imagery and map-based intelligence solutions.

EGD expands the DigitalGlobe's EnhancedView contract with NGA to meet the government's evolving requirements for ortho-rectified products in large quantities. The new EGD product deliverables will include three elements: a nearly cloud-free wide-area mapping layer, continuous delivery of daily images via the Web within 24 hours of collection and quick-turnaround images of NGA-designated high-priority geographic locations.

Earth Observation Industry Buoyant Despite Challenging Economy

Despite ongoing budget cutbacks and measures of fiscal restraint, governments will continue to drive the Earth observation (EO) industry during the coming decade through new satellites and a growing demand for data, according to Euroconsult, an international research and consulting firm specializing in the satellite sector.

As detailed in the company's new study, Satellite-Based Earth Observation, Market Prospects to 2020, the expansion in EO satellite missions impacts the entire value chain, from manufacturing to data supply and services for an ever-growing number of users. Geographical expansion also will play a role in future growth as new government initiatives emerge and commercial data distribution networks proliferate across the globe.

The study reports that EO commercial data sales reached $1.3 billion in 2010. Optical data represented 83 percent of overall sales, with the remaining 17 percent from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors.

The majority (60 percent) of data revenues in 2010 were from high-resolution optical systems to support a predominantly government defense customer base. In 2010, the U.S. government, through the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), was by far the single largest user of commercial data. Data sales are expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent during the decade, reaching nearly $4 billion by 2020, with high-resolution datasets remaining the primary
supply source.

Additional information is available at

ESA Begins Testing Its First  Satellite Constellation 

The European Space Agency (ESA) Swarm satellites, which will
unravel the complexities of Earth's magnetic shield, are being put through their paces to ensure they will withstand the rigors of space. The firstESA Swarm satellite recently underwent magnetic testing.

Comprising three identical satellites, Swarm isESA's first constellation of Earth observation satellites. They are due to liftoff together from Plesetsk in northern Russia next year to study Earth's magnetic shield. The magnetic field acts like a shield protecting the planet from charged particles that stream toward Earth in solar winds. Without it, life on Earth could not exist.

It's known that the field is mainly generated deep inside Earth by an ocean of swirling iron that makes up the liquid outer core. However, Earth's magnetic field holds many mysteries; how it is generated and how it changes over time is complex and not fully understood. It is in a constant state of flux and, currently, shows signs of weakening.

ESA's Earth Explorer Swarm mission sets out to improve our understanding of this enigmatic force. This information will provide insight into processes occurring deep inside the planet and yield a better understanding of the near-Earth electromagnetic environment and the impact solar wind has on Earth.


Landsat Adds to World Memory

A United Nations group established to preserve humanity's history selected a portion of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat archive of Earth imagery to be added to the Memory of the World International Register.

During a span of almost 40 years, the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites has become a unique reference worldwide for advancing our scientific knowledge and our understanding of terrestrial systems, said Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science, U.S. Department of the Interior. The inclusion of the Landsat data archive in the Memory of the World Register is recognition of the incredible value of this long-term data collection, not only for its contribution to scientific research but also for its rich international cultural value.

The Memory of the World Program, administered through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), selected the Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) dataset because it's a unique, irreplaceable record of Earth's land surfaces, shallow coastal regions and reefs. Compiled between 1972 and 1992, this collection of images from across the globe includes more than 600,000 scenes, each covering approximately 100 by 100 miles.

The award citation proclaims, The inclusion of this documentary heritage in the Memory of the World Register reflects its exceptional value and signifies that it should be protected for the benefit of all humanity.

New GeoEye Contracts Total More Than $25 Million

GeoEye recently announced two new contracts for its high-resolution satellite imagery and related services, totaling more than $25 million.

The first award is for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Enhanced GEOINT Delivery program. GeoEye will supply a significant amount of value-added commercial imagery over a large geographic area and distribute it through the company’s EnhancedView Web Hosting Service, which makes commercial imagery accessible to licensed federal customers. As part of the award, the company will expand the EnhancedView Web Hosting Service to support third-party data, crisis imagery and new government portals.

The second award is a subcontract with The Boeing Co. for Controlled Image Base production. The Boeing Co. contract provides products to NGA. Under the subcontract, GeoEye will provide imagery products from multiple satellite sources, including its own high-resolution satellites. The Controlled Image Base products support command and control, mission planning and rehearsal for domestic and military operations.

NGA's Expansive New Post Officially Open

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) cut the ribbon on its new $1.7 billion headquarters on Sept. 26, making it Washington's third-largest federal office building behind the Pentagon and Ronald Reagan Building.

NGA's moves under the 2005 round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) relocations brings under one roof an 8,500-member workforce that had been located at a mix of government-owned and leased facilities in Bethesda, Md.; Reston, Va.; and at the Washington Navy Yard. The agency's new facility includes 2.1 million square feet of office space, a dry cleaner, a beauty salon, a credit union, a state-of-the-art fitness center and a dining facility. The atrium at the center of the main office building”500 feet long and 120 feet wide”is large enough to house the Statue of Liberty.

According to NGA Director Letitia Long, co-locating NGA's D.C.-area workforce in one facility brings the obvious benefits of reducing the travel time for interdepartmental meetings down from a one-hour car ride to a trip down a staircase. But the BRAC move also let the agency, created from a hodge-podge of various high-tech imagery and intelligence agencies in the 1990s, build its own technology infrastructure for the missions it performs now.





 TerraEchos Named IBM Premier Business Partner

TerraEchos, a leader in security solutions that process and analyze big data in motion in real time, has been selected as a Premier Business Partner byIBMfor its work with theIBMInfoSphere Streams computing platform. This exclusive level of business partnership is reserved for companies that have demonstrated superior skills and market success in delivering value through innovative solutions in collaboration withIBM.

TerraEchos has embedded theIBMInfoSphere Streams technology as the processing engine behind its Adelos acoustic fiber-optic sensor solution and Kairos electronic-monitoring appliance. These TerraEchos offerings perform real-time analytical processing of enormous volumes of disparate data streaming at high velocity from multiple sensor networks deployed to detect physical and cyber security threats to critical infrastructure.



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