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Type Public (NYSE: DGI)
Founded 1992
Headquarters Longmont, CO USA
Key people Jill Smith, CEO
Employees 460

DigitalGlobe, of Longmont, Colorado, USA, is a commercial vendor of space imagery and geospatial content, and operator of civilian remote sensing spacecraft. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange on 14 May 2009, selling 14.7 million shares at $19.00 each to raise $279 million in capital.[1]


Worldview Imaging Corporation was founded in January 1992 in Oakland, California in anticipation of the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act (enacted in October 1992) which permitted private companies to enter the satellite imaging business.[2] Its founder was Dr Walter Scott, who was joined by Doug Gerull in 1993 immediately after the company had received the first high resolution commercial remote sensing satellite license issued under the 1992 Act. The company was initially funded with private financing from a Silicon Valley sources. Scott was head of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories "Brilliant Pebbles" and "Brilliant Eyes" projects which were part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Gerull was in charge of the mapping division at the Intergraph Corporation.[3] The company's first remote sensing license from the United States Department of Commerce allowed it to build a commercial remote sensing satellite capable of collecting images with 3 m (9.8 ft) resolution.[2]

In 1995, the company became EarthWatch Incorporated, merging WorldView with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.'s commercial remote sensing operations.[4] In September 2001, EarthWatch became DigitalGlobe.[5]


Early Bird 1

Early Bird 1 was launched for Earth Watch Inc. launched 24th December 1997 from the Svobodny Cosmodrome by a Start-1 launch vehicle.[6] It included a panchronmatic camera with a 3 m (9.8 ft) resolution and a multispectral camera with a 15 m (49 ft) resolution. Early Bird 1 was the first commercial satellite to be launched from the Svobodny Cosmodrome.


QuickBird, launched on October 18, 2001,[4] is DigitalGlobe's primary satellite. It was built in partnership with Ball Aerospace and Orbital Sciences, and launched by a Boeing Delta II. It is in a 450 km altitude, –98 degree inclination sun-synchronous orbit. An earlier launch attempt resulted in the loss of QuickBird-1. It included a panchronmatic camera with a 60 cm (24 in) resolution and a multispectral camera with a 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) resolution.


Ball Aerospace built WorldView-1.[7] It was launched at 18:35 GMT on September 18 2007 from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Delta II 7920-10C. Launch services were provided by United Launch Alliance. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is expected to be a major customer of WorldView-1 imagery.[8] It included a panchronmatic only camera with a 50 cm (20 in) maximum resolution. It was the most powerful commercial satellite when launched.


Ball Aerospace is currently building WorldView-2.[7] It is scheduled for launch in September/October 2009.[9] DigitalGlobe has partnered with Boeing for launch of the WorldView satellites on Delta II.[10] It will include panchronmatic sensor with a 46 cm (18 in) maximum resolution and a multispectral sensor of 184 cm (72 in)[11]


DigitalGlobe’s customers range from urban planners, to the U.S. federal agencies, including NASA[5] and the United States Department of Defense's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).[12] Much of Google Earth and Google Maps high resolution-imagery is provided by DigitalGlobe,[13] as is imagery used in TerraServer.[14] DigitalGlobe's main competitors are GeoEye (formerly Orbimage and Space Imaging) and Spot Image.

See also


  1. DigitalGlobe (DGI), Wikinvest
  2. 2.0 2.1 EarlyBird Satellite Expected to Sharpen Focus of Commercial Remote Sensing Industry - Retrieved September 8, 2008
  3. COMPANY NEWS; A Plan for Close-Up Images of Earth From Space - New York Times - February 12, 1993
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Digital Globe - History". Retrieved 2006-04-19. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Scientific Data Purchase". NASA. Retrieved 2006-04-19. 
  6. "Early Bird 1". NASA. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "DigitalGlobe announces Ball building WorldView 2 satellite". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  8. "A Satellite's First Breath". O'Reilly Media. 
  9. "DigitalGlobe Press Room". DigitalGlobe. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  10. "Boeing Selected to Co-Develop and Launch Next DigitalGlobe Imaging Satellite". Boeing. 2004. Retrieved 2006-04-19. 
  12. "National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Awards $12 Million ClearView Contract to DigitalGlobe". 2006, March 16. 
  13. Hafner, Katie and Saritha Rai (2005, December 20). "Governments Tremble at Google's Bird's-Eye View". The New York Times. 
  14. " - Image Providers". Retrieved 2006-04-19. 

External links