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Nearest coffee shop to remotest oil rig , Digitalglobe Basemaps covers it all for its customers(Part 1)

by Pubali Mukherjee

Decade back satellite imagery was limited to view remote locations and major scientific applications but over the last decade space technology had changed the way we view our planet. With the advent of online and mobile mapping applications imagery Basemap have become the cornerstone of any preliminary intelligent business decision in order to understand the Geo-political aspects of any area. Basemap generally refers to a non-editable layer that provides a background or reference information. It is typically designed to provide a visual reference for other layers to help orient the user of the map.In simple words it means that any layman with no knowledge of image processing can work on it as  a ready made product for all kinds of users. Satellite imagery gives an unbiased picture of the ground reality which makes Imagery Basemap an indispensable part of any crucial business decision. Imagery market is now flooded with numerous commercial Imagery Basemap providers which might be confusing for the end users. Trying to identify the correct Basemap provider in this market can become a job in itself.

                                                                           Image courtesy: DigitalGlobe

Basemaps are generally categorized in two classes:

1. Commercial Grade that is generally free

2. Professional Grade

Commercial grade Basemap is freely available from a number of imagery providers like Google, Bing, Esri Arc GIS online and may others. But these imagery maps generally depend on advertisement revenue and though aesthetically very appealing, they are not generally updated at a regular interval with reference to the changes occurring. Thus business policymakers cannot rely on these consumer grade Basemaps.

Next comes the Professional Grade Basemap. The user is generally charged for these imagery maps. DigitalGlobe is a well-known name now when it comes to professional Grade maps; the company constantly updates these maps according to the needs of the industry. The most important aspect of these imagery maps are they are provided with metadata that has all the relevant information required for any image analysis. The company uses its highest resolution satellites WorldView Series and GeoEye -1 satellites to acquire imagery for Basemaps.

                                  Constellation of DigitalGlobe(Image courtesy: DigitalGlobe)

                                                                                        Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe (DG) has been in the market of commercial imagery for quite some time and over time has evolved to be the leading organization for highest resolution satellite imagery commercially available. DG provides users with premium quality imagery Basemap and sets highest bar in terms of quality, accuracy and consistency.

Metadata is a very important feature of professional grade Basemap. It contains all the relevant information regarding the imagery. The products come in standard GeoTIFF format.

Following graphic explains why and how DigitalGlobe is one stop solution when it comes to Imagery Basemap.

Accuracy and consistency is assured by the company and the end product is of premium quality, seamless mosaic which is compatible on any platform be it online /offline. Discontinuities caused by sun elevation, cloud cover or season are tackled by the company, so the customer has a ready to use product without much worry. DG`s imagery Basemap does not only helps track resources in remote areas but also is a crucial input in various algorithms and analysis.

               A typical metadata of DigitalGlobe product(Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe)

When it comes to choosing the right product the user has to consider a lot of important factors. The most important one being that why should the user choose DG over other freely available Imagery Basemap?

The answer to that question lies in the fact that how often is that imagery updated. DG updates a country or a region every 24 months or 36 months depending on the market demand.

Following graphic of Texas is a real data from production environment shows the date of imagery and explains why DG`s Basemap is a total off the shelf product.

                                   Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe

                                 Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe

                                  Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe

DG providers its end users with a variety of choices, the user can access company`s Basemap options through offline or cloud access. Currently user can choose from six options namely:
1. Basemap +Metro
2. Basemap  +Daily
3. Basemap  Firstlook
4. Basemap  Refresh USA
5. Basemap  +Vivid
6. DigitalGlobe Basemap
DG customers have the advantage of accessing the data through a variety of platforms which adds to the compatibility of the products.
The access can be through:
1. Online MydigitalGlobe
2. ImageConnect plugin for Esri
3. Google earth Plugin
4. Offline-Jpeg tile partitions at different zoom levels for customers which desire the ability to host the data.

                               Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe

Availability of Basemaps through OGC adds to the value of the product. The available services are:

Web Map Service (WMS)

Web Map Tile Service (WMTS)

Web Feature Service (WFS)

Web Coverage Service (WCS)

Web Processing Service (WPS)

                                                     Image courtesy:DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe also has a mapping API which enables the developer to easily access their extended archive of high resolution imagery along with fantastic stylized Basemap content from Mapbox. Beautiful, current images and precise map labels all can be accessed from a single speedy API. The imagery is provided with online code for development of apps. The API delivers baseline context that enables user to better understand and analyse specific Geographies of interest, whether it be state wise, countrywide, regional or global. Using complete high and mid resolution accurate imagery, maps API provides the most relevant imagery Basemap which supports map application developers. DG encourages its customers to use their imagery in apps for all, be it an industry giant or a promising start up.


SATPALDA is a privately owned company and a leading provider of satellite imagery and GeoSpatial services to the user community. Established in 2002, SATPALDA has successfully completed wide range of photogrammetric and Remote Sensing Projects.

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