[Geowanking] FW: Licensing image catalog ID 10100100018E8E01

Ben Discoe ben at vterrain.org
Sat Aug 5 23:55:17 PDT 2006


First, thanks for a long detailed message, and for filling in the story
about what happened with Google and DigitalGlobe.  It's fascinating to

I certainly did check out GlobeExplorer, the Hawaii State GIS site,
TerraServer, and every other source of Hawaiian geodata.  In fact, i've been
studying the subject for 8 years, http://vterrain.org/Hawaii/ in case you're

In this case, there are no truecolor aerial orthophotos available for this
island, at all.  It's frustrating, as virtually every other part of the USA
has at least something.  Apparently, it's really hard to capture cloud-free
imagery here.  Multiple government contracts with large firms have failed to
produce complete aerial coverage.  (Gory details on my site).  USGS has
tried.  USDA has tried.

That's why it was so exciting to learn that DigitalGlobe just made available
really great-looking, crisp 60cm pan-merge ... and so frustrating to learn
that it's tied up in a Google exclusive license.

The '1m AirPhotoUSA pixels from 2000', i can tell from a glance, are
actually the color-shifted CIR Emerge data, commisioned by USDA AFPO.  There
were actually captured from 2001-2003, and as CIR they are public data.
AirPhotoUSA apparently ran them through an algorithm to (poorly) approximate
truecolor, then licensed the derived product with their copyright.  The 1m
on the Emerge is nominal, as they are very blurry, usable resolution is much
lower.  It's also got a big missing chunk for 1/4 of the neighborhood here.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Davis
> Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2006 9:27 AM
> To: geowanking at lists.burri.to
> Subject: Re: [Geowanking] FW: Licensing image catalog ID 
> 10100100018E8E01
> I'm former DG, and there were *endless* debates internally 
> about where DG saw itself in the marketplace. The eventual 
> consensus was that DG would focus on producing raw materials 
> (pixels), and cede the "value-add" market (like 
> consumer-focused web consumption) to those that were 
> interested. Google was the first one to step up, and 
> exclusivity was a big part of the contract negotiations.
> GlobeXplorer (http://www.globexplorer.com/) is another 
> commercial provider that you might want to look into. They 
> really seem to "get it" when it comes to rasters via the web. 
> They offer OGC/WMS access to their catalog on a metered basis 
> (in addition to more traditional discrete purchase/download), 
> and resell pixels from many other producers (GeoEye, 
> AirPhotoUSA, et al) in addition to DG. From what I can see, 
> they have 1m AirPhotoUSA pixels from 2000. I don't know about 
> the size of your budget, but you can always contract with 
> these companies directly to fly specific AOIs for you if they 
> don't have it in their catalog.
> It sounds like you are interested in hi res stuff, but there 
> is always medium res LandSat to fall back on -- 
> http://www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/gis/data/landsat_meta.htm . 
> Terraserver-usa (http://www.terraserver-usa.com/) has hi res 
> of only the continental US, but at least they have topos of 
> Hawaii. I don't know if USGS flew Hawaii, but if they did the 
> imagery should be free, albeit a bit dated (late 1990s, early 2000s).
> If you haven't already, I'd start looking into 
> state/city/county gov't sources (Department of 
> Transportation, Department of Agriculture, local USGS 
> offices) or University departments (GIS/Civil Engineering/Ag) 
> to see if they have any offerings. If so, they might actually 
> be gratis. NASA might have some hidden gems as well.
> http://goes.higp.hawaii.edu/hawaii/
> http://satftp.soest.hawaii.edu/space/hawaii/navnew/navigator.html
> http://satftp.soest.hawaii.edu/space/hawaii/index_orig.html
> HTH,
> s
> Scott Davis
> scott at davisworld.org
> On Aug 1, 2006, at 12:48 PM, Ben Discoe wrote:
> > FYI..
> >
> > It appears that Google licensed ALL of DigitalGlobe's imagery on an 
> > _exclusive_ basis for online presentation.  So if i wanted to do 
> > something on a website, with DigitalGlobe's hi-res imagery, for 
> > example if the Google Maps framework isn't flexible enough, 
> i cannot 
> > legally go around Google to license the image myself!  I 
> can imagine 
> > why Google did this - to prevent Microsoft,Mapquest etc. from 
> > licensing the same imagery in their webmapping frameworks - but the 
> > net effect is that ordinary people, NGOs and small 
> companies are also 
> > cut off.
> >
> > This seems to skirt the edge of 'do no evil'.
> >
> > I thought it was interesting and friendly, that DigitalGlobe openly 
> > referred me to their competitor GeoEye (Space Imaging 
> Ikonos/OrbImage 
> > OrbView).
> >
> > In this particular case, DigitalGlobe (QuickBird) has the 
> only hi-res 
> > cloud-free image in existence for my part of the world 
> (Hawaii).  So i 
> > cannot go to any other source.
> >
> > -Ben
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: DigitalGlobe Customer Service [mailto:info at digitalglobe.com]
> > Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2006 5:13 AM
> > To: Ben Discoe
> > Subject: RE: Licensing image catalog ID 10100100018E8E01
> >
> > Hi Ben,
> >
> > You are correct in what you say below.  Google has signed 
> an exclusive 
> > agreement with us to display our full-resolution imagery on the web.

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