Blue Skies for the Geospatial Marketplace: New Investment for Pioneering Technology
Perspective is a powerful thing. The invention of the microscope gave scientists access to a new world of insights at the molecular level. At Orbital Insight, our vision is to create the macroscope—a real-time view of the world at global, regional and hyperlocal scales via satellite imagery by leveraging computer vision and machine learning technologies.
At its core, all of our work is centered on increasing global transparency. Supply chains are no longer too opaque to scrutinize, the free market becomes a more logical machine, and global issues can be seen from above and counteracted on the ground. It’s a powerful combination: the analysis of satellite imagery allows us to gain a global perspective, while at the same time our technology detects and measures an incredible level of detail that human eyes could never match.
Since launching last year, we’ve put our technology to work in a variety of exciting fields. We’ve partnered with the World Resources Institute to track signs of impending deforestation and with the World Bank to explore new, more efficient methods of poverty mapping. From an agricultural perspective, we can use satellite imagery analysis to set insurance rates and settle claims for crop insurance in the developing world. Earlier this year, we applied our technology to index freshwater supplies around the world. These signals have applications ranging from environmental conservation to relief resource allocation, all with the intention of helping solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
We’ve also been busy unveiling economic trends, like counting cars in the parking lots of major vendors to measure their sales in almost real time. On a global scale, we’re continuing to develop our ability to estimate oil levels around the world by tracking shadows cast by their floating tank lids.
Our progress and impact in all of these areas has not gone unnoticed. We’ve recently been named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in recognition of the ways in which our technology will shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s a very great honor to be included alongside companies like Slack and Ginkgo Bioworks, and we aspire to have a positive impact on the world in the same way that previous Pioneers—like Google—have had.
But while we’re excited by all of the innovative applications we’ve found for our technology so far, we know that we’ve only scratched the surface. Every day, we think of new insights we could pull from satellite images to further clarify the socioeconomic status of the world. Our view is that economic measurement will move from survey-based understanding to object satellite and drone-based data collection. We envision the future of the world’s marketplace to include a combination of satellite and drone-based measurements and internet-based measurements, which will become the data foundation for global economics and our understanding of how we govern ourselves.
To realize these ambitions, we need to bring even more talented employees into our company to continue refining our technology. That’s why we’re proud to announce today our B round funding, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) with participation from CME Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Lux Capital, and Bloomberg Beta. Along with an investment from In-Q-Tel, these funds will allow us to further expand our capabilities into new areas and industries.
At Orbital Insight, we’re committed to changing the way we understand the world, and we’re looking forward to the new perspectives we will uncover.