National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency expands rapid access

New GeoEye technology makes satellite data available within hours. Hundreds of terabytes now available for concurrent joint use.

The US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is now delivering online access to unclassified high-resolution imagery within hours of its collection, due to new technology from geospatial imagery specialist GeoEye.

Site of the July 2, 2011 oil spill near Laurel, Montana, captured by satellite Geo-Eye1 and accessible through the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence. (Image courtesy GeoEye).

The NGA is a combat support agency of the US Department of Defense which also makes geospatial data available to civilian agencies through the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG). The agency has just implemented GeoEye’s EnhancedView Web Hosting Service (WHS), which evolved from previous work GeoEye did with the NGA.

NSG members and partners have recently used the EnhancedView WHS to improve emergency response to natural disasters in Japan; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Joplin, Mo.; and along the Mississippi River.

An example of the imagery now available on short notice is the view of the July 2, 2011 oil spil in Montana. The half-meter resolution image shown here was taken July 10, 2011 and shows a portion of the Yellowstone River along Thiel Road near Laurel in south-central, Montana. According to news reports, an ExxonMobil pipeline that runs under the Yellowstone River ruptured on July 2 and dumped oil into the waterway which prompted emergency officials to order temporary evacuations along the river. The south-central portion of this image shows parked vehicles near clean-up efforts of the river’s side channels. The high-resolution image was collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite while flying 423 miles above the Earth at an average speed of 17,000 mph, or four miles per second. A larger high-resolution version of this image is available at:

The EnhancedView WHS combines GeoEye and third-party imagery to deliver highly precise base maps and allows users to access new imagery online within hours of collection. Users can access imagery through Esri’s ArcGIS, Google Earth and other Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant tools and automatically receive notifications when new imagery is available for their area of interest.

The EnhancedView WHS is powered by GeoEye’s online access platform, EyeQ, which allows thousands of concurrent users to access and download hundreds of terabytes of high-resolution imagery. Recent commercial applications have combined GeoEye-1 and IKONOS satellite imagery and MJ Harden aerial imagery with data from commercial radar providers and the USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program.