DigitalGlobe, Inc..
Type Public
Industry Satellite imagery
Founded January 1992
Founder(s) Walter Scott
Headquarters Longmont, Colorado, U.S.
Area served Worldwide

DigitalGlobe (


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 co-founder and CEO Doug Gerull in late 1992. In 1993, the company received the first high resolution commercial remote sensing satellite license issued under the 1992 Act.[3] The company was initially funded with private financing from Silicon Valley sources and interested corporations in N. America, Europe, and Japan. Dr. Scott was head of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories "Brilliant Pebbles" and "Brilliant Eyes" projects which were part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Doug Gerull was the executive in charge of the Mapping Sciences division at the Intergraph Corporation.[4] 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.[5] In September 2001, EarthWatch became DigitalGlobe.[6]

In 2011, DigitalGlobe was inducted into the Space Foundation's Space Technology Hall of Fame for its role in advancing commercial Earth-imaging satellites.[7]


Early Bird 1

Early Bird 1 was launched for Earth Watch Inc. launched December 24 1997 from the Svobodny Cosmodrome by a Start-1 launch vehicle.[8] It included a panchromatic 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.


Main article: QuickBird

QuickBird, launched on October 18, 2001,[5] 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 panchromatic 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.[9] It was launched 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.[10] It included a panchromatic only camera with a 50 cm (20 in) maximum resolution. It was the most powerful commercial satellite when launched.


Ball Aerospace built WorldView-2. It was launched on October 8, 2009. DigitalGlobe partnered with Boeing commercial launch services to deliver WorldView-2 into a sun-synchronous orbit.[11][12] The satellite includes a panchromatic sensor with a 46 cm (18 in) maximum resolution and a multispectral sensor of 184 cm (72 in)[13]


DigitalGlobe’s customers range from urban planners, to the U.S. federal agencies, including NASA[6] and the United States Department of Defense's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).[14] Much of Google Earth and Google Maps high resolution-imagery is provided by DigitalGlobe,[15] as is imagery used in TerraServer.[16] DigitalGlobe's main competitors were GeoEye (formerly Orbimage and Space Imaging), before their merger with Digital Globe, and still Spot Image.

See also


External links

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