Introducing DigitalGlobe Maps API: the best geo content, no compromises

Luke BarringtonI remember when I saw my first satellite image.

It was 2009 and I was getting ready to embark on an expedition to search for the tomb of Genghis Khan. With no maps and only legends to steer us, I needed the valuable information contained inside DigitalGlobe’s pixels to guide our quest and give context to all the other geospatial information we were collecting. So, when the FedEx box filled with hard drives full of images was delivered, I was excited.

The excitement turned to frustration when I realized that I knew nothing about remote sensing data. How do you view 11-bit files? How do you pan-sharpen 8-band imagery? How do you host terabytes of data for online viewing? But I was a developer, damn it, and I would not be thwarted!! After days of Google searches, StackOverflow questions and plenty of good old fashioned hacking, I finally figured it out, unlocked the information contained in those pixels and our adventure really began.

Fast forward six years, and now my work at DigitalGlobe is all about unlocking our content to make it simple for developers to get access to amazing images that unleash your adventures. With MyDigitalGlobe, we deliver nearly every image our satellites collect online within hours. With GBDX, we make our entire catalog available for big data, pixel-crunching analytics in the cloud. And now, with the new DigitalGlobe Maps API, we’re making it super easy for you to build your app on top of our image basemaps.

Downtown San Francisco, CA captured by WorldView-3
With the new DigitalGlobe Maps API, developers have easy access to current, high-resolution imagery of the entire Earth’s surface.

DigitalGlobe Maps API is a simple, hosted service that pipes our most current and most beautiful satellite basemaps straight into your web or mobile app. On top, we add comprehensive terrain and OpenStreetMap layers to give context to the images. Thanks to our friends at Mapbox, all this amazing content is served up on a reliable, scalable, easy-to-use API that plugs straight into your app. We curate and host the content, so you can focus on building amazing applications.

Want your location-based app to show the best images of the planet? We’ve got them.

Do your users need to trace features and extract information from the images? No problem.

How about caching content so your app keeps working offline? We can help.

Learn more, read the docs, and sign up for Maps API at our new developer site,

My first satellite image took me on an adventure to Genghis Khan’s homeland, helped solve an 800-year-old mystery, and inspired the founding of my startup. It took four PhD’s, hundreds of servers, and years of hacking to unlock the secrets contained in satellite images. Now with DigitalGlobe Maps API, students, entrepreneurs, and developers can get started in minutes.

What will you see in your first satellite image?

Luke Barrington is Senior Director of Product Development at DigitalGlobe.