Two companies have recently launched 52 mini satellites that will give companies a new, high definition way to keep an eye on the Earth.
One company – Skybox Imaging – is now offering 90-second video clips of the earth’s surface taken from space — and the resolution is so good you can see cars driving on the road and planes taxiing.
Skybox Imaging now offering customers 90-second, full-color video of any point on Earth from its SkySat-1 satellite. The company pitches to a wide variety; from people who want to monitor crop health on a massive farm to humanitarian aid mission directors.
The SkySat-1′s “sub-meter” imaging capabilities up the game for commercial options to monitor what’s going on down here on Earth from space.
“In this clip, the SkyBox video sits on top of a static layer of satellite imagery and is overlain by a map layer from Mapbox, based on OpenStreetMap. The combination makes it super easy to see precisely where the planes and cars are headed. Based on the exact time the video was taken, a plane that has just landed could be identified using public flight logs.”
The company says the videos can be useful for a wide range of operations, such as monitoring refugee movements and infrastructure development in conflict areas to aid humanitarian efforts. The company calls it “remote sensing.” It may even influence the stock markets if, for example, viewers want to monitor oil storage containers for changes in volumes to inform commodity trading decisions, the sub-meter clarity makes it possible.
SkyBox claims theirs is the smallest satellite capable of sub-meter resolution imagery, and SkySat-1 is just the first of 24 tiny satellites Skybox has planned.
“This is a fundamentally new global information source designed to change the way businesses make decisions and people view the world,” the SkyBox pitch video claims.
Check out the full video here:
Companies will have greater and greater access to images from micro-satellites; Planet Labs is another company that just launched the largest “flock” of 28 imaging micro-satellites from the International Space Station and hopes to offer scientists and the public the chance to track changes on the Earth’s surface with much higher frequency than ever before, according to Wired.
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.