January 25, 2022 -- Over the course of several decades, satellite imagery has emerged as one of the most critical tools for monitoring the Earth’s land, oceans and atmosphere. Despite the power of this data, the Earth observation (EO) sector has faced an array of challenges regarding commercialisation and distribution that has stunted mainstream adoption. Many of these challenges can be traced back to entrenched industry practices that initially focused on catering to Government and Defence customers, which are not suited to modern commercial workflows. These issues are so prevalent, that some industry leaders have at times gone so far as to liken the satellite imagery purchase process to that of a “ hostage negotiation”.
The primary difficulties stem from data supply, storage and distribution from suppliers to the consumer. For high resolution satellite imaging companies, the opportunity lies in servicing large government and defense clients, not in smaller (but growing) commercial applications. These problems have essentially made Earth observation data too costly to integrate into innovative solutions across different industries such as agriculture, mining, or construction.