Bringing imagery to life with rich sources of geospatial intelligence

Ken Joyce, Senior Product Manager, DigitalGlobe and Abe Usher, Chief Technical Officer, DigitalGlobe | Radiant
Sep 25 2017

Defense and intelligence analysts rely on a variety of information layers to develop an accurate and complete understanding of the events they study. Analysts generate reports and briefings from a confluence of map data, overhead imagery, terrain models, local news stories, social media posts and more. In principal, this multi-source approach to information gathering is what ultimately enables analysts to answer Key Intelligence Questions (KIQ’s) and give leaders the confidence to take decisive action. However, gathering this variety of information has traditionally taken most of an analyst’s time—leaving precious little opportunity to combine the data, derive critical insights and publish their findings.

To improve the speed at which analysts can explore, analyze, and exploit geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), DigitalGlobe developed SecureWatch—the world’s most powerful subscription-based GEOINT service. This service makes it easy for analysts to explore the globe with recent, high-resolution satellite imagery, analyze images collected since 2001, and exploit images using an intuitive set of tools and seamless workflows. SecureWatch helps the world’s intelligence agencies, security organizations and defense units improve the quality of their intelligence deliverables by increasing analysts’ access to commercial satellite imagery and unlocking time that can be spent on more valuable steps in the intelligence cycle.

Even with access to ultra-high performance optical sensors that collect multiple spectral bands, the full story happening on the ground may be hidden from a satellite. Activities underground, under roofs and inside of ships are obscured from view. Even activity in plain sight can go undiscovered in the context of over 4 million square kilometers of imagery that DigitalGlobe collects every day. To focus analysts’ attention and uncover activities that may not be readily apparent in images, more information is often required.

For these reasons, DigitalGlobe is making several additional information sources available to SecureWatch subscribers:

  • GeoNews. This powerful collection of machine learning models and geospatial algorithms can geolocate news articles from 100+ global sources and stream them live as analysts view imagery. (See below.)
  • Human Landscape: Five global Human Landscape layers are available to all SecureWatch subscribers to view overlaid on imagery with more layers available for premium subscription on a countrywide scale. (See below.)
  • Open Source GIS Layers: GIS data can be streamed into SecureWatch using numerous Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) services such as WMS, WMTS and WFS—enabling users to visualize imagery together with both proprietary and publicly available data.

GeoNews streams geo-located news articles into the SecureWatch interface. Coverage of the 2017 Paris Air Show pulled in by GeoNews is shown in the left panel alongside WorldView-3 30 cm imagery of the air show.

More about GeoNews

GeoNews combines natural language processing, supervised machine learning and text categorization with a global place gazetteer to create explicit geolocations implied by place names in news stories. These machine learning-derived insights enable analysts to navigate the news interactively using a map view. Instead of manually searching and sifting through hundreds of news feeds, GeoNews provides analysts with a simplified method of maintaining situational awareness about what is happening on the ground anywhere on Earth—to help them focus on higher-value tasks.

Human Landscape integrates with imagery in SecureWatch to provide insights into human geography. The background is Bandar Abbas, Iran. 30 cm image captured by WorldView-3, June 1, 2017.

More about Human Landscape

At DigitalGlobe, our vision is to be the indispensable source of information about our changing planet. In addition to our world-class satellite imagery, we develop and maintain a dynamic Human Landscape database that catalogs millions of points of interest across the globe—providing critical foundational information to give context to imagery and other types of location data. Spanning more than 60 different data layers (e.g., communications infrastructure, transportation hubs, airports, seaports, military bases, medical facilities), our Human Landscape database provides comprehensive data about where things are located all over the world. Other layers provide qualitative data about life in the area of interest—including languages spoken, religions practiced and ethnic groups that live there. This information, combined with high-resolution satellite imagery, enables analysts to produce accurate intelligence deliverables which give leaders the confidence to take decisive action.

SecureWatch is a powerful service for organizations seeking to improve intelligence cycles using the best commercial satellite imagery and rich layers of geospatial intelligence. Find more information and request a free 30-day evaluation subscription at the SecureWatch product page.