- Title: Satellite constellation offers video of anywhere on earth
- Date: 12th July 2017
- Summary: GUILDFORD, ENGLAND, UK (JULY 6, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) EARTH-i CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RICHARD BLAIN, SAYING: "We call it planetary big data and with the big data analytics through the computing power that has become available recently and is growing and the AI, artificial intelligence and machine learning processes, that apply to such huge volumes of data, new insights that we can derive around our planet and our interaction with the planet are what this particular industry is moving towards."
- Embargoed: 26th July 2017 10:34
- Keywords: Satellite constellation video images earth observation
- Location: GUILDFORD, ENGLAND, UK / FROM SPACE
- City: GUILDFORD, ENGLAND, UK / FROM SPACE
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Science,Space Exploration
- Reuters ID: LVA0056PEV6FV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A British company is taking earth observation imagery to a new level, offering colour video from space to any commercial customer.
Earth-i says it will launch the prototype of its own satellite constellation later this year and the first batch of five commercial satellites in early 2019.
The prototype has been designed and built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) and is smaller than traditional earth observation satellites but can be tasked to point at a particular target and film high-definition colour video.
Previously the preserve of governments and research institutions, earth observation from space is now within reach of many, according to SSTL.
"As a satellite manufacturer, it's creating some good opportunities for us but it's also good for the space industry as a whole because the more people out there doing these kind of things and using satellite data, the more the space industry grows," said Andrew Cawthorne, Director of Earth Observation at SSTL.
The constellation will provide still images or film moving targets such as vehicles, vessels and aircraft, revisiting the same location multiple times per day.
Earth-i says the data it will provide will be invaluable for businesses trying to monitor certain activities or predict future events.
"At the forefront of the use of this sort of data are commodity traders and businesses who wish to understand the eco-system of their own business and their own supply chain and on a global scale how that might be affected. For instance, we have the ability to monitor iron ore ports and shipping lanes around the world to start to understand and draw insights around the level of consumption and production and how that may in turn drive price movements," Earth-i Chief Executive Officer Richard Blain told Reuters.
Earth-i says the data gathered will be so vast it wants third party partners to work out all the potential applications.
"We call it planetary big data and with the big data analytics through the computing power that has become available recently and is growing and the AI, artificial intelligence and machine learning processes, that apply to such huge volumes of data, new insights that we can derive around our planet and our interaction with the planet are what this particular industry is moving towards," Blain said.
Earth-i's satellites will orbit lower than most earth observation satellites, improving the view of the planet, but not enough to pose privacy problems.
"The resolution that we have from these satellites, whilst it is 1m per pixel, we are only talking about a pixel here. So, whilst we can see cars and we can differentiate between a car, a van and a lorry, we don't have the resolution from this satellite that allows us to get the level of detail that would cause privacy concerns," said Blain.
The company plans to launch more satellites in batches of five as demand grows, allowing it provide ever more frequent monitoring of the same location.
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