SPOT IMAGE is based in Toulouse (France) and was set up in 1982 to promote, produce and distribute data received around the world from the SPOT series of earth observation satellites. SPOT IMAGE was the first private company set up to market earth observation imagery. The SPOT IMAGE corporate headquarters houses all system activities: data archiving and preprocessing centre, programming centre, data processing workshop, image maps workshop, and documentation centre.
In the last ten years, it has become the world’s leading supplier of satellite-based geographic information, value-added products and services for professionals. Some 90% of its production is exported (70% outside Europe). SPOT IMAGE has a worldwide distribution network of more than 80 distributors, four subsidiaries: Spot Image Corporation, in Reston, USA, Spot Imaging Services, in Sydney, Australia, Spot Asia, in Singapore, Spot Beijing Spot Image Co. Ltd, in China.
Almost 240 people work in the SPOT IMAGE group. Sales engineers, thematic experts, GIS and radar specialists, customer service people, the satellite programming department, all are involved in commercial activities in different ways, and help with the development effort. Information technology engineers and technicians, cartographers, photography experts and image processing specialists provide their know-how to improve production quality and to better understand and meet users' requirements.
SPOT IMAGE manages all SPOT satellite resources: programming of the real-time acquisition mode, the satellite onboard tape recorders, assigning orbital revolutions to direct receiving stations, and so on. SPOT IMAGE uses its own production facilities to manufacture products from the telemetry received. Meeting quality assurance requirements and production deadlines are high priorities. SPOT IMAGE organises and drives the distribution of SPOT geographic data. In addition to SPOT products, SPOT IMAGE, has extended its range to other sensors such as radar sensor (ERS, ENVISAT, ALOS, RADARSAT) and optical sensor (FORMOSAT-2, KOMPSAT-2 ALOS, MERIS, VEGETATION, LANDSAT, IRS, QUICKBIRD, IKONOS). In the future, SPOT IMAGE will be the exclusive distributor for PLEIADES data. It provides its know-how and experience to users in the form of consultancy, help to find funding from international organizations, and advice from specialist departments.
Through 25 years of experience, Spot Image has developed a large number of earth observation products (SPOTMaps, ParkView, SPOT Thema, Reference3D, etc). In the context of products harmonization, Spot Image has been the first to develop a product format based on XML, long before the adoption of XML by the earth observation community. The DIMAP format has been developed in 2000, before the launch of SPOT-5 and is now used as a standard format for all the SPOT family as well as for FORMOSAT-2. Implementation on KOMPSAT-2 is in progress and DIMAP will also be the standard format of the future PLEIADES data.
Spot Image is also a member of the international Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), which is working to establish interface specifications to ensure interoperability between geographic information systems and to increase interoperability in accessing geospatial data. OGC’s membership is drawn from key players in the geospatial sector, including major institutions (NASA, ESA), leading commercial software developers (ESRI, Intergraph) and users.
Spot Image is regularly involved in OGC initiatives and has already implemented and tested a number of Web services, including a Web Coverage Server (WCS) and a Web Map Server (WMS). Other services such as access to Spot Image’s online catalogue and multi-satellite tasking have also been developed and integrated in data portal projects. The most striking example is ESA’s HMA project to develop an Earth Observation data portal for GMES based on OGC standards.
Within OGC and taking advantage of the expertise gained with DIMAP format, Spot Image is contributing actively to the Sensor Web Enablement thread by working on subject as such Sensor Planning Service, Sensor Observation Service and SensorML specifications. Spot Image is involved on different Revision Working Group as WCS, SOS and SPS.
Spot Image’s contribution to the project will rely on its expertise on earth observation and satellite imagery. Spot Image will provide a comprehensive landscape of existing and future space sensors that could bring added value to the analysis of the effects of environmental changes on human health.
Another important role of Spot Image will be to define and implement the technologies to access efficiently to satellite imagery through standardised interfaces and processes. This includes catalogues of imagery, satellite programming, data pre-processing and data access through web services compliant with OGC standards.