Factbox: Satellite imagery firms seek commercial growth

BANGALORE (BestGrowthStock) – Spatial imagery has come a long way — from hot-air balloons and pigeons with cameras to the satellites that are expanding their usage from defense and spying to navigation and farming.

But the industry faces a big challenge as it targets rapid growth into commercial markets, which are still working out how best to use the new technology.

Following are some facts on the two main listed satellite imagery companies and some potential growth markets:

DIGITALGLOBE (DGI.N: )

* Longmont, Colorado-based DigitalGlobe owns and operates three satellites — QuickBird, WorldView-1 and WorldView-2.

* The three together collect about 1.5 million kms of imagery each day.

* Has more than 1 billion sq kms of earth imagery and imagery products in its library.

GEOEYE (GEOY.O: )

* Dulles, Virginia-based GeoEye operates three satellites and three aircraft for collecting imagery.

* Has more than 405 million sq kms of color imagery of the earth, according to its annual report.

* Signed multi-year agreement with Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ) to provide satellite imagery for Google Earth and Google Maps.

COMMERCIAL MARKETS

* Industry experts say expansion into nascent commercial markets depends on technological innovation.

* GeoEye sees potential in markets in oil and gas, transport, mining, environmental monitoring and infrastructure.

* Layering satellite imagery with other location-based technologies can help combat climate change and deforestation.

* Imagery is also used in crisis situations such as the Pakistan floods, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Haiti earthquake.

* International civil governments use satellite imagery for economic and infrastructure development.

(Compiled by A.Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore)

Factbox: Satellite imagery firms seek commercial growth