Airbus startup aims to make satellite imagery easier to use

UP42 provides pics from space and the algorithms to make use of them.

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Jose Luis Stephens / EyeEm via Getty Images
Jose Luis Stephens / EyeEm via Getty Images

Airbus might just make it easier to use the growing treasure trove of high-res satellite imagery. The aerospace giant has launched a space tech startup, UP42, that promises to make satellite (and drone) image data accessible to individuals and small shops. In addition to providing the imagery itself, the fledgling firm offers "ready-to-use" algorithms that can do everything from detecting clouds to revealing changes like new buildings and shrinking forests. You wouldn't have to bend over backward to use overhead photography in an app, even you're on a relatively tiny budget.

UP42 is using a modular platform, and creators can even run code in the cloud if they don't have their own servers to spare.

The startup's services are currently in beta, but the early pricing reflects the more accessible approach. Customers buy "credits" they can use toward data, infrastructure and processing as they see fit. UP42 has bulk packages starting at €250 (about $280) for 25,000 credits, but would-be customers can ask for custom amounts. You're probably not going to use this yourself. However, it could lead to more satellite and drone imagery in the apps you use, not to mention the democratization of data that tends to be reserved for big businesses and government agencies.

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