Near Real-Time Satellite Image Access Services
Spence, Ian; Edgardh, Lars
Spacemetric AB, SWEDEN

Techniques developed by Spacemetric break new ground by enabling a 'live feed' of fresh satellite imagery into location-based services. This can add value to applications such as "now-casting" of environmental phenomena, rapid response and disaster relief, enhancing users' experience by serving imagery within minutes of reception. The NGI (Near Real-Time Geoannotated Imagery) project has demonstrated rapid access to satellite Earth observation imagery and collaborative tools using a service-oriented approach that combines "virtual sensor models" with online service protocols. The virtual sensor-modelling approach brings together rigorous photogrammetric methods with multi-threaded, on-the-fly processing techniques. This enables raw sensor imagery to be transformed directly into map-compatible form and made available to users, either within services such as web mapping, or in a streamlined process that delivers customised image products. This approach is supported by Spacemetric's Keystone technology and has been demonstrated within the NGI project using the UK DMC2 and Pleiades satellites while it has been applied elsewhere in the image production systems of the Nigeriasat-2 mission, as well as to several operational airborne imaging sensors. Satellite and airborne images already feature as a backdrop in many online location-based search services but such imagery consists of fixed layers of ageing data. The methods are generic and can be applied to current and future satellite imaging sensors, such as the Sentinels, to airborne cameras, and even video imagery such as collected by unmanned airborne platforms. The NGI project is funded within the European Space Agency’s GSTP Programme.