We are on the brink of a massive shift in the space industry. The growing commercialization and democratization of space will bring new information with incredible uses for every industry, from energy and agriculture to finance, defence, manufacturing, humanitarian, and more.
BlackSky, a subsidiary of Spaceflight Industries, is at the forefront of the geospatial industry with its cloudbased geospatial intelligence service. The subscription service offers realtime data, site monitoring analytics, and both archived and on-demand satellite imagery, providing organizations with timely and relevant insights about their vital global assets.
CEO, Jason Andrews launched BlackSky in 2015 to make it easier for more organizations to benefit from global big data. “Soon, almost anyone will be able to explore our world in ways that would have never been dreamed about 20 years ago,” says Andrews. “With BlackSky, organizations can, for the first time, fuse satellite imagery with an array of data services to better understand the most critical issues.” Andrews shares his experience with us:
Why was GIS chosen as the preferred industry of service for BlackSky?
BlackSky was founded with the goal of transforming how we look at and understand our planet. Nearly in realtime, we are enabling organizations to use geospatial data to derive answers to questions such as: Are my employees safe? What are my competitors up to? Is there a natural disaster that has disrupted my supply chain? Before BlackSky, access to this kind of timely and relevant data was a costly, cumbersome, human intensive process which prevented the vast majority of organizations from taking advantage of it. Now the data is one click away. We believe every organization in the world can benefit from this.
With the widespread adoption of GIS technology, what are the solutions, services or products that set your company apart from your competitors?
BlackSky has developed a new multisensor global intelligence service — think of it as the first “Bloomberg Terminal for Space”— that allows organizations to observe and understand our world as events happen.
It taps an ecosystem of the world’s leading satellite providers and delivers the content in one unifying enterprisescale platform. Our customers can purchase imagery collected previously (archive data) as well as task spacecraft to observe or monitor specific locations, either from BlackSky’s constellation of 60 satellites or other commercial satellite sources that are part of the ecosystem.
For instance, imagine a construction foreman, hedge fund manager or infrastructure analyst who all want to know what’s going on at a distant oil refinery. They could point to the location on a mobile phone and obtain an image with supporting analytics within 90 minutes.
We are also leveraging multiple data sources including ground sensors, news feeds, social media, internet-ofthings, and other emerging capabilities. The platform uses machine learning, predictive algorithms and naturallanguage processing techniques to triangulate relevant global events in time and space. It analyzes this data based on your preferences and alerts you to critical events – so you can take immediate action. By combining this information with the satellite imagery, any company is poised to make wellinformed decisions about global assets.
How has the journey been so far and what were the initial struggles and challenges BlackSky faced?
The industry in general has had to deal with how to reduce costs, improve the user experience, upgrade delivery times and processes, develop analytics capabilities and broaden access to capital. BlackSky has not been immune to these challenges.
To make geospatial intelligence consumable to commercial entities, we have had to strip out the layers of complexity and cost, and leverage the cloud and other emerging technology. These steps have made it easier and more affordable for private entities to access and use our geospatial service.
What benefits do your clients gain in doing business with BlackSky?
BlackSky is transforming how we look at the world in near real-time by bringing together data sources, satellite imagery and breakthrough analytical solutions to create a revolutionary, easy-to-use online service.
Plus, we will provide high-resolution images not only faster than other companies — a couple hours versus days or weeks — but at a tenth the cost of the current industry average. Our constellation of satellites will fly over most major cities 40 to 70 times a day, going beyond simply complementing existing service providers. We’re enabling a new level of global awareness by providing images of the Earth in near real-time.
What is your view of the future of the GIS solution industry and what role does BlackSky play in that?
The future for BlackSky, and the GIS industry, is bright. It will be fascinating to see what the coming years bring in terms of commercial adoption and how that will spur further innovation. With better information and intelligence, organizations will solve problems they never imagined solving. Our role is simple: We will provide organizations with information that enables them to make better decisions for our planet.