Dec 03, 2014

OmniEarth Starts Product Development, Lands First Customer

[Via Satellite 12-02-2014] Data and satellite imagery startup OmniEarth has inked East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) as its first customer. The company is in the process of raising capital for a constellation of 18 Earth imaging satellites to collect space-based data. Ball Aerospace is contracted to build the satellites, and Spaceflight Inc. is assisting in finding rideshare opportunities to bring the constellation online by 2018. But even without any spacecraft in orbit, OmniEarth has created a product to address a growing need in California.

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OmniEarth has not limited its focus to satellites either. As evidenced by the use of aerial imagery to serve the company’s first customer, OmniEarth is looking at other devices that carry sensors, which can then be used to take measurements and create or supplement datasets.

“We are currently working on a project with cell phone sensors with another company to create fleet management tool sets that not only tell where drivers are, but helps them understand driver behavior and things like that using the sensors on the phone,” said Dyrud. “Cellphone sensors are something just as exciting.”

To create valuable datasets using satellites, OmniEarth is emphasizing accuracy in geo-referencing down to a couple of centimeters. The constellation plan calls for each satellite to orbit seven minutes behind the next, each covering a 200-kilometer swath. The coverage will overlap by 20-kilometers, creating a constant flow of data that can be compared to calibrate for accurate and precise measurements. Together, the satellites will image the entire Earth once per day at a two-meter panchromatic and five-meter multi-spectral resolution.

Following water-management and agriculture, OmniEarth is eyeing the energy sector for future products. Dyrud said OmniEarth is working with several players in the energy sector that are guiding product development as part of the startup’s energy board. Other target markets include forest management, border security and emergency response.