‘Like Ordering Food’: Near Real-Time Earth Observation Data, Unpacked

MELBOURNE — In order to help customers make more informed decisions, Earth Observation companies producing remote sensing data strive to streamline the time between data is ordered, acquired, delivered and the moment insight is obtained from it. Approached by the Space Inquirer on how EO companies understand the determinism in this chain, George Biney—CEO at Panopticon Space, a San Francisco-based startup operating a constellation of Cubesats carrying hyperspectral sensors—expressed: “As much as we try to coat it as something deterministic, it’s like ordering Thai through your favorite application; they add all those countdowns and notifications, but at the end of the day it all depends how the cook woke up and, principally, the crucial immigrant doing the pedaling not getting lost or hit by a garbage truck”. Mr. Biney added “EO data chain is full of low-wage, alienated, ‘pedaling’ people working on night shifts and weekends, so we prefer to use a more professional umbrella term for all this: near real-time”.