DigitalGlobe has announced the full availability of 30 cm satellite imagery products – an industry first.
Access to the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite imagery captured by DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite will improve decision making, enable more efficient operations, and enhance a variety of applications for customers in the civil government, defence and intelligence, energy, mining, and global development sectors.
In addition, many customers who were previously reliant on aerial imagery can now benefit from the improved economics, global availability, and faster refresh rate that DigitalGlobe can provide with its 30 cm satellite imagery. Imagery of this resolution was previously only available from aerial platforms, which are difficult, costly, or impossible to access in many parts of the world. DigitalGlobe’s 30 cm imagery products are also a rapid and affordable alternative in locations where aerial imagery is readily available. New imagery orders can be delivered on timescales of days or weeks, as opposed to months, in many cases, and customers can also leverage a rapidly growing volume of available 30 cm archive imagery.
“Today marks a significant milestone for our customers, who will now benefit from a level of image quality that has never before been available from commercial satellite providers,” said Hyune Hand, DigitalGlobe’s Senior Vice President for Product Marketing and Management. “These products will further enable our customers to save lives, resources, and time, propelling us toward our purpose of ‘Seeing a better world.’”
The suitability of 30 cm satellite imagery for aerial imaging applications is confirmed by the National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS), which is used by the imaging community to define and measure the quality of images and performance of imaging systems. DigitalGlobe’s 30 cm imagery achieves a rating of NIIRS 5.7, meaning it can resolve objects on the ground such as above-ground utility lines in a residential neighbourhood, manhole covers, building vents, fire hydrants, and individual seams on locomotives.
“DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-3 satellite data is the highest quality satellite photo data that PhotoSat has ever processed,” said Gerry Mitchell, President of PhotoSat, a leading satellite elevation mapping provider for energy, mining, and engineering firms. “In one test, an elevation mapping grid extracted from stereo WorldView-3 satellite photos matched a highly accurate LiDAR elevation grid to better than 15cm in elevation. This result takes satellite elevation mapping into the engineering design and construction markets and directly competes with LiDAR and high resolution air photo mapping for applications like flood plain monitoring.”
WorldView-3 is the first and only commercial imaging satellite capable of collecting imagery with 30 cm ground sample distance – five times the detail of the company’s nearest competitor, according to DigitalGlobe.
The satellite also features unique shortwave infrared (SWIR) capabilities that will enable new applications such as seeing through smoke and haze, identifying minerals and man-made materials, and assessing the health of crops and vegetation.
The SWIR imagery that the satellite collects has never before been available to commercial customers with this level of spatial and spectral resolution, and it will provide unique value to users in the energy and mining industries, as well as others. Today DigitalGlobe launched a beta program for 7.5 m SWIR imagery, working with partners, customers, and users to explore new uses for this capability.
“Companies should be exploiting the competitive advantages of the WorldView-3 data to look for potential ore-related alteration that will have been missed by the previous satellites used for alteration mapping,” said Dan Taranik, Managing Director of Exploration Mapping Group, a service provider to the global mineral exploration industry. “Detailed inspection of remote areas on the peripheries of alluvium or younger volcanics would be a competitive advantage that could help reveal concealed deposits.”