Spaceknow: Using GBDX to bring transparency to the global economy

In 2013, I co-founded Spaceknow with an ambitious goal: to bring transparency to the global economy by tracking global economic trends from space through analytics. And now, just three years later, our company has become a leading provider of targeted industrial and geographical intelligence. Integral to our growth has been our partnership with DigitalGlobe on the GBDX cloud-based platform. When we apply our proprietary interface to the wealth of geospatial data from DigitalGlobe’s agile and sophisticated constellation of commercial earth imaging satellites accessible on the GBDX platform, we have been able to analyze and track global events and economic trends like never before.

DigitalGlobe imagery alone can provide Spaceknow with the imagery of the highest accuracy, clarity and resolution necessary to get the kind of information and insights needed to drive decisions based on analyzed high-resolution satellite imagery. The unprecedented 30 cm resolution of the DigitalGlobe imaging satellites is a key enabler and differentiator of DigitalGlobe and Spaceknow looks forward to deepen our mutual relationship.

Here are three particularly exciting projects we’ve collaborated on so far.

Can you count 460 million cars in a day? Spaceknow can. Imagery ©DigitalGlobe 2016
Can you count 460 million cars in a day? Spaceknow can. Imagery ©DigitalGlobe 2016

Counting cars, lots of them 

The data supplied to Spaceknow’s proprietary Object Detection feature seen below provides analysis of satellite imagery at a peak rate of up to 460 million cars per day. DigitalGlobe imagery has been invaluable to Spaceknow’s economic analytics and used in a range of projects, from forecasting regional revenues to planning estimated future consumer activity.

Tracking refugee camps

This partnership has also facilitated monitoring the expanding size of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Until recently, this level of detail was available only to government intelligence agencies. Today, these areas can be evaluated from space for civilian applications. Spaceknow’s quantified analytics of satellite imagery has made it possible to monitor developments at the camp over time, sometimes even more accurately than those observing events on the ground.

Analysis of Zaatari refugee camp using GBDX and Spaceknow’s Change Detection feature. Imagery ©DigitalGlobe 2016
Analysis of Zaatari refugee camp using GBDX and Spaceknow’s Change Detection feature. Imagery ©DigitalGlobe 2016

Industrial Facilities in China

A historic first: Spaceknow’s Satellite Manufacturing Index (SMI) on Bloomberg Terminals. Imagery ©Bloomberg 2016
A historic first: Spaceknow’s Satellite Manufacturing Index (SMI) on Bloomberg Terminals. Imagery ©Bloomberg 2016

Spaceknow created the first-ever Satellite Manufacturing Index (SMI), which went live on Bloomberg Terminals on March 1. The Spaceknow interface closely monitors activity at more than 6,000 industrial facilities across China. Using more than 2.2 billion individual satellite observation points, the SMI index is composed of analysis of an area of 0.5 million square kilometers spanning the last 15 years.

Coming soon, Spaceknow will be using GBDX for our Watchdog service. This will provide customers with a continuous and automated near real-time monitoring of almost any selected location on the planet—from beach houses on the North Carolina coast to Iranian nuclear facilities.

At Spaceknow, we’re in a market of exponential growth with infinite applications of satellite imaging services. I am incredibly excited to be partnered with DigitalGlobe along the way, and hope that together we can continue to make the global economy more transparent for our clients.

Pavel Machalek is co-founder and CEO of Spaceknow Inc.