An often-quoted Business Week article from 1999 stated that, “In the next century, planet Earth will don an electric skin…” The electric skin refers to is the concept of the sensor web, where networks of sensors monitor and interact to communicate change over time. The sensor web had its start with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has spread broadly to include both sensors and ecosystems of sensors that have come down dramatically in price, with great improvements in performance and capability.
Change is a constant that is inevitable, but what isn't inevitable are disruptive impacts. The more we know about our planet and how our built environment interacts with our natural environment, the more we will seamlessly adapt with little or no harm to lives and livelihoods. It's with the mission in mind -- to monitor, analyze and adapt to global change -- that the new re-branded Sensors & Systems is born. Coincident with this is the launch of a new Informed Infrastructure publication that is focused on extending infrastructure design to include impacts, with a focus on the geographies of the city scale and below.
The mergers and acquisitions within the geospatial technology space are white hot right now, with news Friday that GeoEye approached DigitalGlobe in order to acquire and combine companies. That news was further clarified on Monday with a DigitalGlobe rebuttal of the offer, and news that they too had an offer on the table. It seems like an inevitable consolidation at this point, with the result becoming the world’s largest commercial high-resolution satellite company, with streamlined operations that would ensure viability of the U.S. commercial imagery market in the face of deep federal cuts.
A feature in the New York Times outlines the battle that is brewing in Congress to defend the use of commercial satellite imagery for intelligence gathering. The president’s budget as submitted reduces the Enhanced View program spending by more than half from $540 million to $250 million. The director of the National Reconnaissance Office has resigned on Wednesday of this week amid escalating pressure to defend these cuts, lending hope to what has been a rather grim picture for commercial satellite providers GeoEye and DigitalGlobe.