Google Terra Bella (previously SkyBox)

Since Google bought small-satellite-constellation company SkyBox Imaging in 2014, there have been further players advancing in the small-satellite market. Google has done a strategic refocussing recently by renaming SkyBox as Terra Bella, with a focus on satellite imagery analytics. In combination with Google’s other geospatial data sources, machine-learning algorithms, and the cloud-based big geospatial data processing Google Earth Engine, I see lot of exciting developments coming out from Terra Bella in the near future. It is pertinent to mention here that Google seems to be aiming at setting up / supervising its own full end-to-end chain of satellite remote sensing: from satellite / imaging sensor manufacturing, ground stations, data downlinking, raw imagery processing, to image analytics. Perhaps Google Terra Bella will be a rival to industry-leading DigitalGlobe and Airbus Defence & Space.

See the revamped Terra Bella website, and follow new developments at the Terra Bella blog.

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About WQ

I received my PhD (2013) in Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Science at the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, under a Fulbright fellowship. Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Space Science at Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad, Pakistan, where I have been a founding member of the Geospatial Research & Education Lab (GREL). My general expertise is in Remote Sensing where I have worked with various remote sensing datasets through my career, while for my PhD thesis I specifically worked on Remote Sensing using SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and Oceanography, working extensively on development of techniques to measure ocean surface currents from space-borne SAR intensity images and interferometric data. My research interests are: Remote sensing, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery and interferometric data processing & analysis, Visible/Infrared/High-resolution satellite image processing & analysis, Oceanography, Earth system study and modelling, LIDAR data processing and analysis, Scientific programming. I am a reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Geoscience & Remote Sensing, Forest Ecosystems, GIScience & Remote Sensing, Journal of African Earth Sciences, and Italian Journal of Agronomy. I am an alumnus of Pakistan National Physics Talent Contest (NPTC), an alumnus of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, a Fulbright alumnus, and the Pakistan National Point of Contact for Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). I was an invited speaker at the TEDxIslamabad event held in Nov., 2014. I've served as mentor in the NASA International Space App Challenge Islamabad events in April 2015 and April 2016.

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