The ABC of satellite imagery
Alphabet, the parent company behind Google, has invested in spatial data capture by planning the launch of a constellation of Earth observation satellites for next-generation mapping and geospatial applications. Google has announced its Skybox Imaging group, a which provides commercial high-resolution Earth observation satellite imagery, high-definition video, and analytics services, was re-branded as Terra Bella and will oversee the ambitious new plans.
Founded in 2009, Skybox Imaging was acquired by Google in 2014 for $500 million after having raised a total of U.S. $91 million of private capital. The company launched its first satellite, SkySat-1, in November 2013, followed by SkySat-2 in July 2014.
“We are building an entirely new class of imaging satellites,” notes the brand new Terra Bella website. “We’ve developed a high-resolution, small satellite platform capable of rapid response, high-resolution imagery at a fraction of the cost of traditional imaging satellites.”
“We also use a two-dimensional sensor array with a proprietary image filter to capture a higher quality image by taking multiple frames per second and stitching them on the ground. This also gives us the ability to capture the first-ever commercial high-resolution video of Earth from a satellite.”
Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree
On the other hand, Apple has recently shown an interest in surveying technology, with the establishment of a patent for a new LiDAR sensor.
The patent, entitled “3D depth point cloud from timing flight of 2D scanned light beam pulses”, specifies hardware and functional processes of a new type of LiDAR sensor. The Apple design usss a fixed mirror, a scanning mirror, a photodetector and a laser emitter.