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Startup shares disaster imagery, but at what cost?
28 June 2019
Government space agencies and multinational corporations have well-established mechanisms in place to respond to requests for imagery in the wake of fires, floods or other disasters. For Iceye, the Finnish firm that launched the first small radar satellite in 2018, the frequent requests pose challenges.
"There is something happening every day: earthquakes, floods, fires, landslides, avalanches," said Rafal Modrzewski, Iceye founder and chief executive. People fill in forms on Iceye's website and the company tasks its Iceye-X2 synthetic aperture radar satellite to capture the imagery.
"There is no situation in which we would charge people for [this] data," Modrzewski said. Still, Iceye is a new company that needs to make money in order to survive. Perhaps governments should provide some type of support to ensure companies like Iceye can continue sharing geospatial data in the wake of disasters, he added.
Image credit: Iceye - Artist's concept of an Iceye-X2 radar satellite.