Press Release

DigitalGlobe Makes MDA’s RADARSAT-2 Data Available on the GBDX Platform to Power Multi-source Analytic Applications at Scale

By SpaceRef Editor
June 5, 2017
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DigitalGlobe, Inc., the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, today announced an agreement with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (TSX:MDA) to make RADARSAT-2 data available on DigitalGlobe’s Geospatial Big Data platform, GBDX, unlocking new applications made possible by the combination of optical and radar satellite data.

MDA’s RADARSAT-2 satellite collects synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data that gives users the ability to see the Earth both day and night, in all weather conditions. With SAR content on GBDX, users will have ready access to powerful content and tools in the cloud that cost-effectively unlock object and change detection use cases.

The first tool that has been integrated into GBDX is based on MDA’s radar-based change detection capability, which provides a reliable means to detect changes caused by human or natural activities. RADARSAT-2’s broad-area imaging capabilities and ability to see through rain and clouds make it a clear choice for monitoring change over large areas at 5 meter resolution levels or better. Change detection can be applied to a time-lapse image stack, allowing users to determine when the change occurred.

For example, RADARSAT-2 data could be combined with DigitalGlobe optical imagery to monitor illegal logging on a country-wide scale. Users could tap into GBDX to identify all RADARSAT-2 images for the areas of interest over a given period of time, run automated change detection to identify candidate areas for illicit activity, and then retrieve high-resolution optical imagery of those areas for closer inspection.

As applied to defense and intelligence needs, new military structures and activities could be identified. In this case, GBDX would compare historical RADARSAT-2 imagery with new imagery and automatically detect new man-made structures, which appear as bright spots. Further assessment of the structures and activities could then be done using high-resolution optical imagery.

“Adding SAR data to the GBDX platform augments our existing 100-petabyte optical imagery library, opening up new use cases our customers have long desired, including the ability to image regardless of clouds or weather on a regular basis,” said Dr. Shay Har-Noy, Vice President and General Manager of DigitalGlobe’s Platform business unit. “Importantly, the GBDX platform enables large-scale computation for users who have only ever used optical imagery, making global-scale, multi-source analytic solutions possible like never before.”

DigitalGlobe continues to widen its lead in providing easy-to-use geospatial capabilities to meet a growing range of customer needs. Continuing on its commitment to build the world’s most powerful and complete geospatial platform, and to add the SAR data to GBDX, DigitalGlobe built enhanced features for the processing and management of third-party content. It’s now easier than ever for commercial data providers to put their content on GBDX and earn revenue from the platform’s growing customer base.

“Putting our SAR data on the GBDX platform opens up new markets and revenue streams for us,” said David Belton, MDA’s Vice President, Geospatial Services. “DigitalGlobe has developed an industry-leading platform for analyzing and exploiting geospatial content at scale, and making our data accessible to the GBDX developer ecosystem will enhance valuable and complex analytics that are required for applications such as supply chain monitoring, disaster response, and persistent monitoring.”

Learn more about GBDX at

About DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe is a leading provider of commercial high-resolution Earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions that help decision makers better understand our changing planet in order to save lives, resources and time. Sourced from the world’s leading constellation, our imagery solutions deliver unmatched coverage and capacity to meet our customers’ most demanding mission requirements. Each day customers in defense and intelligence, public safety, civil agencies, map making and analysis, environmental monitoring, oil and gas exploration, infrastructure management, navigation technology, and providers of location-based services depend on DigitalGlobe data, information, technology and expertise to gain actionable insight.

About MDA

MDA is a global communications and information company providing operational solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide. MDA’s business is focused on markets and customers with strong repeat business potential, primarily in the Communications sector and the Surveillance and Intelligence sector. In addition, the Company conducts a significant amount of advanced technology development. MDA’s established global customer base is served by more than 4,800 employees operating from 15 locations in the United States, Canada, and internationally. The Company’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “MDA.”

SpaceRef staff editor.