street. Lewis – Data analytics firm Royce Geo has used imagery from Planet Labs and ship-tracking information from Spire satellites to uncover illegal oil trade by Russian tankers around the world.
The analysis, published on May 16, also found that more tankers arriving from Russian ports are now heading towards Chinese export destinations.
Using artificial intelligence techniques to extract ships and classify tankers within satellite imagery, the company was able to explain how Russia continues to export oil and natural gas products while most countries have imposed sanctions and price caps.
Another analytics and AI company, Windward, has combined ship-tracking data with Planet Imagery to report on alleged washings of Ukrainian grain by Russian dark vessels.
These are examples of how Planet is working with partners “to take advantage of our data,” Kevin Weil, Planet’s Chief Product and Business Officer, said. Space news.
We have hundreds of satellites in space. We photograph the whole planet every single day. So we have this history of the world that basically records anything that’s changed over the last seven or so years,” Weil said.
Satellites owned by private companies like Planet have played an unexpectedly important role in the war in Ukraine, demonstrating the ability of commercial satellites to provide critical intelligence.
However, the industry is concerned that much of the value of the data that satellites collect and archive daily remains untapped.
“I think Planet’s is the least used dataset in the world,” Weil said.
planet is Work with Microsoft To create something called PlanetGPT using artificial intelligence to make satellite data more accessible by indexing it, making it searchable and talkable, Weil said.
“One of the reasons I’m excited about this is because for the first time we can not only build individual models to extract what’s going on in the world, but potentially build a more general model that we can query in natural language and more quickly get answers across a variety of scenarios.”
To become an information company
Last quarter, Planet Planet reported significant revenue growth. Going forward, Planet Federal Chairman Robert Cardillo said that the company is reshaping itself to become more than just an Earth observation company and become a provider of data and information.
Cardillo, a former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), oversees the government arm of Planet Labs. His message to customers is, “Tell us the insights you want and let us figure out how to provide them.”
Planet last year won a $146 million contract from the National Reconnaissance Office to supply photovoltaic images. Cardillo said the company is working to expand its reach into the government market. Planet has signed a number of collaborative research and development agreements, known as CRADAs, with government agencies to explore ways to extract ideas from Planet’s archives.
Cardillo said the NGA and other defense agencies are gaining more confidence in commercial data but there are still “structural disincentives” slowing adoption of commercial solutions.
He said some agencies still don’t trust commercial data but “I’m really hopeful.” “This is an interactive system. Sometimes the commercial industry pushes, sometimes the government is up front because of their capabilities, but I’m really happy with the interactions.”
Discussions about what the future holds for the geospatial intelligence industry will take place this week at the GEOINT 2023 symposium held in downtown St. Louis, near where the NGA is building a new campus known as NGA West.
NGA trade organizations
James Griffiths, NGA’s director of commercial operations, said the agency is looking for better ways to take advantage of private sector innovations.
The agency, for example, uses data and analytics services from commercial service providers under its Economic Indicators Monitor, or EIM program, in which companies compete for task orders to monitor global activity and provide insights into economic trends. The first round of contracts was worth $29 million and the next round will grow to $60 million thanks to an additional congressional job.
“In five to 10 years, data won’t be our problem. There’s a lot of data out there. What I hope to see and try to encourage is the development of more analytics services, things that give meaning to that data to lay users,” Griffiths said in April at the Planet Users conference. in Washington, DC.
As part of the intelligence support that the NGA provides to the Department of Defense, he said, “we’re required to monitor thousands of airports every month. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a service that monitored that service for us that was reliable and, as part of the service, provides an alert that something has changed?”
“These are the kinds of services that I think will be of real value to society, and the data is already there,” Griffiths said.
Cardillo, an early supporter of the EIM program when he ran the NGA, agreed that there had to be better ways for the government to tap commercial capabilities. Once the agency decides what information it wants, he said, “we get the algorithm set, and working with the archives, we can provide weekly or daily reports.”
Planet has teamed up with Microsoft to assess damage to buildings in Ukraine caused by the war. The key, Weil said, is to train the models to identify different things like schools, hospitals, and military installations.
“It took us a month or so to do the first analysis in Ukraine,” Weil said. “And then when the earthquake happened in Turkey, it took us two days because we improved the models and worked out the processes,” he said. “This is the kind of thing that EIM is going for. It’s a training ground and then you automate and iterate and move faster into the future.”
To help unlock more applications and uses of archival data, Planet has launched a startup program that provides discounted access to Planet data for research, product development, and prototypes. Weil said the company wants to democratize access to satellite data and reduce technical barriers.
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