Britt Technology Impact Series

Maps, Spies and Commerce: Elevating Satellite Imagery with Cloud Computing

November 17, 2011 • Tuck Campus

Maps, Spies and Commerce: Elevating Satellite Imagery with Cloud Computing Photo

DigitalGlobe, a provider of satellite imagery and geographic data, describes its purpose as “seeing a better world.” Yancey L. Spruill T’97, the company’s CFO, helps make that happen. So does cloud computing. There is perhaps no other business in the world that has more visual information about the earth than DigitalGlobe. Its high-resolution images are critical to an array of scientific, commercial and defense applications: The company helps governments keep their citizens safe; it provides pictures of landscapes raked by floods to relief agencies; it visually monitors the rise and fall of oil stockpiles for commodities traders; the company helps civil government agencies plan for population changes and collect taxes. Such services would be nearly impossible without the cloud because DigitalGlobe would overwhelm all but its largest clients with mountains of data. Each day, the company collects 2-4 terabytes – a single terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes – and dispatches another 15-20 terabytes from its voluminous library. (A typical map of North America might fill a DVD; at DigitalGlobe images are so rich that a DVD might hold only a single city.) Put another way, the company adds as much data to its imagery archive each year as Facebook. Cloud computing makes it possible for DigitalGlobe clients to skip building their own giant computing centers and instead focus on solving challenging problems.

Yancey L. Spruill, CFO, DigitalGlobe
Yancey L. Spruill T’97 joined DigitalGlobe in 2004 and currently serves as the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at DigitalGlobe. From 2000 to 2004, Mr. Spruill served as a Principal in the Investment Banking group at Thomas Weisel Partners. Additionally, Mr. Spruill’s prior experience includes employment in the Mergers & Acquisitions department at Lehman Brothers Inc. and in the Corporate Finance department at J.P. Morgan & Company. Mr. Spruill also served in several engineering roles with Corning Incorporated and The Clorox Company. Mr. Spruill holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

About DigitalGlobe
DigitalGlobe is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol DGI. DigitalGlobe is a leading global provider of commercial high resolution earth imagery products and services. Some of the advantages of their high quality satellite and aerial imagery and provisioning products are:

  • Expanding constellation of high-resolution commercial satellites and aerial flight programs.
  • Dependable delivery of high-resolution imagery and geospatial data that seamlessly integrate with your applications and projects
  • Timely collections and updates to our global, online, image library.
  • Ongoing investment in new generation geospatial information solutions.
  • A worldwide network of value added resellers and strategic partners with leading edge expertise and support.
  • World class, high volume orthoimage and data management facilities.

DigitalGlobe is headquartered in Longmont, Colorado with other locations around the world.

Yancey Spruill, CFO, DigitalGlobe

Hear the talk Yancey gave regarding digital imagery and cloud computing.

  • Yancey explains how DigitalGlobe owns and operates the most agile and sophisticated constellation of high-resolution commercial earth imaging satellites.

  • An interactive demonstration of the satellites that map the entire earth 3x per day while orbiting at 15,000mph.

  • The audience is impressed by the amount of data DigitalGlobe manages in the cloud.

  • Fukushima was imaged immediately before and immediately following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which cause the nuclear disaster. These images were instrumental in the stabilization efforts.

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