By Andrea Shalal
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - DigitalGlobe Inc this week unveiled new Web-based tools that could help military troops, relief workers and others use its high-resolution satellite images, social media feeds and other data without needing massive bandwidth.
The tools, which are in beta-testing now, give users access to complex data processing done in the cloud, including rapid analysis about everything from helicopter and paratrooper landing sites to social media usage in a specific area.
Accessible on any cellphone, iPad or other portable device, the analytical tools can also be downloaded and cached for later use, even when there is no connectivity, DigitalGlobe Chief Technical Officer Walter Scott said.
Scott said DigitalGlobe developed the system to allow users to benefit more from its imagery, which he called the world's highest-quality commercial satellite data, and the growing amount of unclassified information available from sources around the world.
"This is a very, very bandwidth-light way of working with data," he said. "All the heavy lifting is happening in the background in the cloud ... and you get just the results you need."
DigitalGlobe's new tools come just days after the director of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency told a space conference that he was making a "seismic shift" in the agency's work to increase access to and analysis of the vast amount of unclassified data.
DigitalGlobe's tools use imagery taken over the previous 30 days, making it far more current that what is generally available on sites like Google Maps. It also allows users to see archived imagery to track changes over time or look at if the most current view is obscured by bad weather.
Paul Millhouse, director of technical solutions, said the new tools were ready to roll out to the 10,000 separate government agencies or other clients that already use DigitalGlobe imagery.
Using simple commands, users will be able to analyze and map Twitter feeds and dozens of other social media data in a given area, which could prove helpful during disaster relief, or in helping troops track gatherings or protests in conflict areas.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)