International Partnerships Could Help Imagery Operators Offset U.S. Budget Cuts

[Satellite TODAY Insider 05-01-12] Facing potential cuts to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) multibillion-dollar EnhancedView program, imagery satellite operators GeoEye and DigitalGlobe have secured valuable international partnerships that could help offset government market losses.

   GeoEye confirmed April 29 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to partner with global IT solutions provider Rolta to develop new geospatial products and services using GeoEye’s high-resolution satellite imagery.
   Rolta said it plans to offer the GeoEye-enabled solutions to its customers across high-growth global markets, beginning with India. Rolta also is exploring opportunities to leverage GeoEye’s imagery service and predictive analytics’ to develop defense and homeland security solutions served from its Geospatial Fusion platform.
   “Imagery plays a critical role – especially for defense and homeland security – to enable users to rapidly analyze change, visualize impacts and make informed decisions in the field in a timely manner,” Rolta CEO Preetha Pulusani said in a statement. “Rolta also plans to develop intelligent 3-D city solutions for commercial users in urban planning, construction and infrastructure development, as 90 percent of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies are located outside North America and Western Europe and in regions such as Southern Asia.”
   GeoEye’s market rival DigitalGlobe announced April 30 that it signed a multi-year agreement with Internet service portal Tencent to provide images of 350 major Chinese cities via DigitalGlobe’s exclusive distributor in China, China Siwei.
   Tencent serves more than 700 million online customers, including online gaming, social networking and instant messaging. DigitalGlobe’s imagery will be integrated into Tencent’s online mapping service. Tencent said the addition would allow the company to enhance end-user experiences, increase its subscription base and expand the location-based features it can offer its customers.
   “The launch of this service represents an important step in achieving our strategic goal of providing users with one-stop online lifestyle services,” said Tencent Head of Mapping Services Wang Jianyu. “High-resolution satellite imagery is now a basic requirement for any online mapping portal, because it enables a very intuitive user experience. Moving forward, we will have the ability to integrate the imagery across the full range of our social media and entertainment services, including our QQ instant messaging service, which is currently one of the most widely used social media applications in China.”
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