Choosing the Right Mapping Solution

The use of location data was once exclusive to mapping companies. In today’s mobile world, “where” is relevant in nearly every industry. How businesses generate, process, consume and disseminate this valuable intelligence is unique to each use case. There are many great ready-made mapping options that have grown out of the consumer market, and they are fine for typical web or mobile apps. However, companies wanting a competitive edge by extracting value from location data must build their own maps that meet their needs while also maintaining user data to improve customer experience.

Location data is the new “database.” Instead of building spreadsheets, companies are creating maps to inventory information important to their business. This new kind of database enables humans and machines to make decisions based on location, direction of travel and surroundings. The world changes constantly, which means the maps used as the foundational layer to the location data must be updated constantly. We refer to this as relevance. A map that remains unchanged for a year, a month or even a week becomes a historical reference, and not relevant. But a super detailed, up to date, accurate map—that’s a relevant tool.

Existing maps and mapping platforms are perfect for many applications, such as a mobile app telling people where to meet or an application providing business reviews using a pinprick locator. The providers of these mapping services leverage satellite imagery as the foundational data in the creation of their products for the consumers of these products (who actually make the applications). For these uses, the existing maps works well.

But for an autonomous vehicle operator building maps for machines—not humans—to read, the data needs are unique to a particular technology implementation. Ready-made solutions may not work. Consider an ecommerce, logistics or courier service committed to delivering packages within hours. These companies need mapping details beyond what typically exists in pre-built solutions. For use cases like these, the unique nature of the map data, as well as information gleaned from users’ usage of the map’s data (i.e. monitoring of data exhaust) can differentiate one company’s offering from another’s, necessitating strong data privacy for these unique data in order to establish competitive advantage. DigitalGlobe, as the provider of the source data, enables both raw creation of unique data sets, distinct from those data sets common in the market, and privacy of this data and its usage monitoring.  For this reason, we are seeing a huge uptick in traditionally “non-location” industries building their own mapping applications and location-based data sets to meet their specific needs, including recent adoption among Global 2000 companies we’ve not worked with previously.

Maxar Technologies’ DigitalGlobe helps customers create map data layers they need to fit their projects.

At DigitalGlobe, our five-satellite constellation collects millions of square kilometers of the highest-resolution satellite imagery commercially available, every day, capturing the imagery that best meets our customers’ needs. But we don’t stop there. We work with an ecosystem of geospatial experts, data scientists and developers to create industry-leading machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to systemically digitize the Earth’s surface, turning imagery into insights at a scale required by the world’s most demanding technology customers. Using technology from Maxar’s DigitalGlobe and MDA, another Maxar Technologies company, we proactively alert customers to changes on the ground so their maps can be updated, enabling advanced use cases that require highly current map data – not stale map data that could lead to suboptimal results. And finally, customer’s license data directly from DigitalGlobe to protect their IP and supports product differentiation, allowing the creation of unique map data for DigitalGlobe customers that serves as an advantage over their competitors. This business strategy, combined with industry-leading tools, is the reason top global companies are working with DigitalGlobe as their trusted partner to reliably solve their most complex and critical mapping needs.

Advanced polygon datasets can be derived from DigitalGlobe satellite imagery.

Maxar’s DigitalGlobe is a trusted provider of satellite imagery, extracted data and processing services for many world-leading technology companies. Our purpose is to see a better world and our parent company’s purpose is to build a better world. We are committed to this vision. Our capabilities are foundational for traditional ready-made maps and mapping platform services, and we also directly serve unique mapping needs for cutting-edge companies with specialized requirements. Whether you need access to a great application or platform that offers standardized, shared location intelligence for the masses, or you need to build datasets that are your intellectual property with need access to the richest geospatial data and capabilities available on the market, you will likely be leveraging DigitalGlobe’s technologies in some form. If there’s a chance the latter applies to you, reach out to us – we’ll help you answer the questions to get you started building a differentiated data set for your project!