Lifts Restrictions on Satellite Imagery
Satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe (currently MAXAR) has made a request for the US government to lift restrictions on the pixel resolution of available commercial satellite imagery to better compete against non-US-based companies.
DigitalGlobe argues that the quality of commercial aerial photography — like images available on Google and Bing map websites — is in more than 90 countries at 5-centimeter resolution. These images are taken from an aircraft, not a satellite.
The petition was made to the Commerce Department and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to lift restrictions that limit the quality of commercially available satellite images to 0.5-meter resolution.
Without the waiver, US government agencies and strategic partners will be the only customers allowed access to the highest-resolution images.
The request was made on May 14, 2013, but has yet to receive a ruling. Astrium(currently AIRBUS Defence and Space) has also requested a lift from the French government. Astrium’s Pleiades 1A/1B satellite offers satellite imagery at 0.5-meter resolution.
Allowing higher-resolution satellite imagery to commercial customers will help the US maintain a technological edge over foreign companies.