Menu
US government OKs sharper satellite images

US government OKs sharper satellite images

A long-standing restriction has been lifted to usher in better quality online mapping

The U.S. government has lifted a long-standing restriction that meant companies like Google and Microsoft didn't have access to the most accurate pictures taken by imaging satellites.

Until this week, satellite operators like DigitalGlobe were prevented by law from selling images to foreign or commercial organizations in which features smaller than 50 centimeters were visible. The restriction was meant to ensure that foreign powers didn't get access to satellite images that were too good.

But now that's changed. DigitalGlobe said it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce to sell sharper images to its clients.

That immediately unlocks pictures from its GeoEye-1 satellite, with a resolution of 41 centimeters, and Worldview-2 satellite, at 46 centimeters, but much better pictures will soon be available.

The company's Worldview-3 satellite can see features as small as 31 centimeters and is due for launch in mid-August from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The government has said DigitalGlobe can sell high-resolution images from that satellite six months after it enters operation, which would make them available sometime in the first half of 2015.

The sharper images will mean more than just better quality online satellite pictures. Companies like Google and Nokia automatically process such images to help build accurate online maps and there is a host of uses outside of the Internet industry including agriculture, disaster relief, mining, transportation and civil engineering.

The announcement came in the same week that Google said it would buy satellite imaging start-up SkyBox Imaging for $500 million.

SkyBox says its SkySat satellite can capture images at "sub-meter" resolution, which probably means they are not as fine as DigitalGlobe's pictures.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleSkyboxInternet-based applications and servicesMapsU.S. Department of Commerce

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments