Seeing a Better World™

WorldView-3: First Images!

By DigitalGlobe | Published:

On August 13, 2014, DigitalGlobe launched WorldView-3 into orbit. On August 19, a mere six days after launch, our team completed commissioning  the satellite bus and opened the door on the main telescope to begin observing our changing planet. And on August 21, we  completed our focusing and achieved Initial Operational Capability (“IOC”) on the entire suite of WorldView-3’s 27 super-spectral bands.

Jeff Tarr, Chief Executive Officer, said “We are delighted that even in the early stages of calibration and commissioning WorldView-3 is revealing new insights that will enable customers to address some of the most pressing global challenges. WorldView-3 performance is exceeding our expectations and is a great step forward in helping our customers make critical decisions with confidence as they save lives, resources and time.”

We are pleased to share several WorldView-3 image examples from our collection of Madrid Spain, and highlight a variety of use cases for existing and new DigitalGlobe customers.  Because of the regulatory restrictions, we can’t yet display the 30 cm native resolution data, so we’re sharing imagery resampled to 40 cm which is available to download below.

Click the image below to download referenced examples on our Slideshare page 

UPDATED 8/29/13
You can also browse the large scene of the Madrid imagery below along with some extra examples here:
We recommend using the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

As shown in our WorldView-3 slide examples, customers can more easily determine the type of vehicle (cars, trucks, sedans, mini vans) and its speed and direction, which is valuable for a range of industry vertical customers. With 30 cm super-spectral imagery, quantitative assessments of the state of highway networks — including surface wear — can provide valuable maintenance planning information to national, state, and local governments.

In our second example, WorldView-3 offers the improved ability to distinguish different types of aircraft as well as their equipment and features. Assessing vehicle type, state of activity, condition and maintenance are valuable to governments and other civil aviation stakeholders.

Highly precise images of our changing planet are important for decision makers managing Earth’s natural resources. With WorldView-3, DigitalGlobe can automatically distinguish different colors, textures and measure change over time which is important for the energy sector, conservationists, and governments. Our Short Wave Infra-Red (SWIR) sensor will multiply the value of WorldView-3  imagery by enabling the detection of specific mineral content and species of vegetation through signatures not identifiable with the naked eye.

WorldView-3 can also more accurately monitor the rate of development and investment at a regional or global scale. This includes the rate of construction as well as finer details like building materials, roof-top reflectance, road networks and population density, which is valuable to governments, industry and location based service customers. In one example image, individual shipping containers can easily be counted and measured which is valuable information for monitoring economic activity and trends at various marine ports, airports, rail yards and other logistics hubs.

We are beyond thrilled by the clarity and quality of the imagery that we are sharing today. We thank our partners at Ball Aerospace and Exelis for building such a terrific satellite, and to the Lockheed Martin and ULA teams for putting it on orbit safely.

We look forward to sharing more imagery and examples of WorldView-3 over the coming weeks. Leave us a comment and let us know what you’d like to see from WorldView-3 and ideas for helping us move toward our purpose of Seeing a Better World™.

Note: DigitalGlobe formally notified the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of WorldView-3’s IOC, which means that beginning on February 21, 2015, we will able to deliver 30 cm imagery to all of our customers. In the meantime, we will make 40 cm panchromatic and 1.6 m multispectral data available to our customers when WorldView-3 completes its validation and testing. Data from the satellite’s new shortwave infrared (SWIR) sensor will also be available to customers, however the resolution of this data will be restricted to 7.5 m while NOAA is conducting a six-month study of the capability.

20 Responses to WorldView-3: First Images!

Sitiraju Srinivasa Rao says: September 11, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Wonderful Achievement. The 31 cm resolution will revolutionise the cadastral survey. The world need many more satellites with this resolution to cover the globe in nadir mode for few years.

Vladimir says: September 6, 2014 at 6:10 am

This is best satellite images for research Earth surface and Land Cover. For geological and geo-ecological research very important is the presence of eight spectral bands in the SWIR
Thanks developers very much !!!.

Mark says: September 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

The 40-cm resolution images are pan-sharpened images using the high-resolution panchromatic band. The real multispectral resolution is over 1 meter, and once images are pan-sharpened, its difficult to do real spectral analysis of scene features. Thus, the best resolution of 30 cm (to be available this coming Feb 2015) is for the panchromatic band, and not the MSI imagery.

Rick DeKesthler says: September 1, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I’ve followed DigitalGlobe’s success for the past 10 years. I’m thrilled to see such remarkable images produced with such quality by your amazingly talented staff.

Anon Commenter says: September 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

Not allowed to use 30cm resolution? I thought I recently read a news article online that said that the military has now relaxed its restriction on civilian satellites, to now allow them to use use 30cm resolution.

ste says: August 29, 2014 at 5:07 am

Hi, i understand that this picture are in resolution of 40cm but comparing this with the google earth image, the difference is big. how it is possible? are the pictures with 30 cm res very different to this? And i have another question: the Google images probably have a better resolution than 40 cm, isn’t that illegal?

Mirrmurr says: August 28, 2014 at 11:17 pm

I just wanna share a big THANK YOU for the images & explanation. I’m amazed! I wish all the best for you guys with WV3!

Goosemoose says: August 28, 2014 at 2:04 am

to: Chris Smith. The big difference is that Google Maps is a static feed. According to Google Maps and street view my house doesn’t exist!

Nick Rollings says: August 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm

I’m looking forward to the lithology and mineral mapping potential. SWIR at that spatial resolution is a great step
forward. I wish I had this instrument 25 years ago when I wanted to map small carbonate outcrops in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Time to revisit that project I think.
U gotto love the term:
“super-spectral”
All the best
Nick

PLaGuardia says: August 27, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Wow!!! I can’t believe these awesome pictures are from space!! Beautiful job Digital Globe!!! Keep up the magnificent work :)

Wockenfuss says: August 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

But Google earth uses panes and other means to take pictures. This is from earth orbit and rather different.

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