DigitalGlobe Companions With Mapbox To Launches Its Maps API

DigitalGlobe, the publicly traded, high-res imagery service that owns its personal fleet of satellites, has lengthy been generally known as a purveyor of high quality satellite tv for pc imagery to governments and enormous firms like Google and Nokia. Whereas these firms then typically made DigitalGlobe’s imagery obtainable by their very own developer packages, DigitalGlobe itself by no means targeted on making its information obtainable to smaller-sized startups and corporations.

Now, nevertheless, the corporate is beginning to open up a bit extra and it’s launching a beta of its Maps API for builders who need to combine its imagery into their very own purposes.

Working by third events has labored effectively for DigitalGlobe thus far, however now it needs to get nearer to the developer group to handle a few of the shortcomings it sees with the present mannequin.


“What we’ve been starting to see more and more of is this desire to own their own maps and have full control over their user data and flexibility in the licensing terms,” DigitalGlobe’s director of latest merchandise Luke Barrington instructed me. “That’s where we start to try and bring our content directly to developers.”

Barrington tells me DigitalGlobe will supply two variations of its maps. One will give builders entry to essentially the most present imagery and a second base map (known as “Vivid”) would be the cleaned up model of the corporate’s information. As a result of DigitalGlobe cleans up these pictures, shade corrects them, and makes certain your view isn’t obstructed by clouds, it’s clearly not as present as the primary set.

Most builders, nevertheless, don’t simply need fairly satellite tv for pc imagery (with resolutions of right down to 30 centimeter per pixel in some areas). In addition they want road information and different info. To supply builders that, the corporate has partnered with Mapbox, an OpenStreetMap-based mapping service. Mapbox will distribute DigitalGlobe’s imagery and again the service with an SLA.

“It’s kind of retro, right?” Mapbox CEO Eric Gundersen instructed me once I requested him in regards to the collaboration. “These amazing cameras in outer space looking though 2 million feet of atmosphere beaming pictures back to Earth in under an hour ….. and to get access to the imagery, a customer needs to call FedEx to see where their hard drives are? FedEx is a shitty API; that is why we built our platform.”


Barrington believes that the corporate’s picture high quality will win clients who would have in any other case used APIs from Google or different mapping providers. He additionally says that some folks could swap just because DigitalGlobe will give builders the flexibility to extra simply model their maps with their very own logos, permitting for offline use, and use the corporate’s information to extract no matter info they want from it. He additionally argues that Google’s imagery shouldn’t be as clear and often up to date because it may very well be.

For DigitalGlobe, that is fairly a change, one thing Barrington additionally acknowledged. Till now, the corporate targeted on massive shoppers. “But we are trying to shift that,” he stated.

With its GBDX platform, the corporate already provided builders entry to an enormous set of historic information, however for essentially the most half, that’s not what startups that need to combine maps into their apps are searching for.

For now, the DigitalGlobe Maps API continues to be in beta and the corporate hasn’t settled on a pricing plan but. As Barrington instructed me, the corporate needs to make use of this beta part to determine what the most effective pricing scheme would be, however he additionally instructed me that the corporate plans to supply a restricted free tier.


– TechCrunch.

Aline Niyonkuru


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