DigitalGlobe, CosmiQ Works, NVIDIA, and Amazon Web Services team up to launch SpaceNet Open Data Initiative

Public corpus of satellite imagery and training data will advance research in technology to automate mapping and image analysis

(25 August 2016, Westminster, Colo) DigitalGlobe, Inc. the global leader in earth imagery and information about our changing planet, today announced the launch of SpaceNet, an online repository of satellite imagery and labeled training data that will advance the development of machine learning and deep learning algorithms that leverage remote sensing data. SpaceNet is a collaboration between DigitalGlobe, CosmiQ Works, and NVIDIA, and the imagery is now freely available as a public data set on Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS).

GPU-accelerated deep learning has led to huge breakthroughs in the field of computer vision. Most of this innovation has occurred through research enabled by ImageNet, a database of 14 million photographs labeled in over 20,000 categories. SpaceNet aims to facilitate similar advances in automating the detection and extraction of features in satellite imagery, fueled by the massive amount of information about our changing planet that DigitalGlobe collects every day, and that of emerging commercial satellite imagery providers.

Until now, high-resolution satellite imagery has not been readily accessible for data scientists and developers to build meaningful computer vision algorithms. SpaceNet will for the first time open access to a large corpus of curated, high-resolution satellite imagery to incubate algorithm development. SpaceNet will launch with an initial contribution of DigitalGlobe multi-spectral satellite imagery and 200,000 curated building footprints across the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This initial contribution will provide the necessary data to create new algorithms to automate the extraction of features like buildings in dense urban environments. Over time DigitalGlobe, CosmiQ Works, NVIDIA, and AWS anticipate making more than 60 million labeled satellite images accessible to the public via SpaceNet.

“Each minute something is happening in the world. While commercial constellations are poised to collect imagery at global scale, we must advance our ability to analyze data to realize its full potential,” said Tony Frazier, Senior Vice President at DigitalGlobe. “SpaceNet is key to unlocking a huge explosion of new AI-driven applications that ultimately will help us better respond to natural disasters, counter global security threats, improve population health outcomes, and much more. The industry is coming together to power smarter algorithms so we can see and learn things from imagery about our planet that we simply cannot know today through manual techniques.”

“Innovation of AI algorithms is fueled by large, high-quality, labeled datasets like SpaceNet and flexible, open-source machine learning tools,” said Dr. Jon Barker, Solutions Architect at NVIDIA. “Researchers will be able to create high-impact geospatial applications by applying our DIGITS deep learning tool to the SpaceNet data corpus.”

To access the data, visit SpaceNet on AWS.

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 CosmiQ Works
CosmiQ Works conducts research and analysis to assist the U.S. Intelligence Community to better leverage new and emerging commercial space capabilities. Operating as an In-Q-Tel technology challenge lab, CosmiQ Works brings together participants from government, industry, and academia to address space-related challenges with the potential for high mission impact. CosmiQ Works also provides support to In-Q-Tel’s investment team as it pursues relationships with space-related startup companies.

The announcement in full is here.