Jill Smith, DigitalGlobe: “satellite imagery could be offered wherever there is a vector map”

While satellite imagery was considered a professional tool only a few years ago, Google Earth, followed by most mapping portal made it as popular as the map view. Nevertheless, the satellite imagery market for consumer applications is still an emerging market today, even if very promising thanks to the limited number of players and the high barriers to entry. We recently had the opportunity to get an insight on this business through an interview with DigitalGlobe CEO Jill Smith.

Jill D. Smith joined DigitalGlobe in 2005 where he serves as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board. Prior to joining DigitalGlobe, from March 2005 to October 2005, Ms. Smith was President and CEO of Gomez, Inc., a provider of on-demand web application experience management solutions, and prior to that, from 2001 to 2005, Ms. Smith was President and CEO of eDial, a provider of conferencing and collaboration solutions that was acquired by Alcatel.

Before her eDial tenure, Jill Smith was CEO of Micron Electronics, Inc. Ms. Smith also co-founded and led Treacy & Company, LLC, a boutique consulting and investment business, and was CEO of SRDS, L.P., a privately held publishing company. Earlier in her career Jill Smith also held senior level positions at Sara Lee Corporation and Bain & Company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies from London Guildhall University and a Master of Science in Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

GPS Business News: can you briefly present me your company?

Jill Smith: We are operating a constellation of satellites dedicated to providing high quality earth imagery and geospatial information products. We have two satellites currently in operation: QuickBird and WorldView 1 and we are in the process of launching a third one, WorldView 2.

As a company our goal is to lower the barriers that come when using satellite imagery today. We believe this type of imagery is no more limited to complex GIS systems and it can be easily implemented into consumer products. We are looking at eliminating barriers at two important levels. The first one is to provide continuous coverage of the globe. With our upcoming WorldView 2 satellite that will be launched next month we will reach a tipping point which is about providing annual coverage of the globe. Our customers will have the assurance of an annual update. This is a very important point.

The second key enabler is the availability of cloud computing to distribute our products. With the geospatial cloud we can offer a platform with high performance computing and bring down cost. Our customers can therefore access imagery through various formats, immediately. We can also offer additional services such as change detection or feature identification that leverage this geospatial cloud.

GPS BN: What is the size of the company today?

JS: we are roughly 500 people and our revenue was $275 million last year.

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