Google offers non-profits free access to satellite images

Following the acquisition of Skybox, Google is giving high-quality satellite images away for free to non-profits.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.56.40
Credit: Skybox

Google is giving away satellite imagery in order to support non-profit organizations.

Real-time satellite imagery company Skybox, which was acquired by the tech giant in August, specializes in high-quality imagery gathered by the firm's satellites. Purchased for $500 million, Google said at the time the satellites would eventually be used to improve Internet access across the globe and as a resource for disaster relief.

According to a blog post by Skybox co-founder & Developer Advocate at Google Earth Outreach Julian Mann, this plan is now in full swing. The company says that a new project, dubbed Skybox For Good, will contribute fresh satellite imagery to projects which "save lives, protect the environment, promote education, and positively impact humanity."

Whether projects are monitoring climate change, responding to natural disasters, want to stop deforestation or are clearing landmines, satellite imagery can help organizations by giving them a clearer view of what's going on in their environment.

Mann says that Skybox for Good has now been launched in beta, and a small group of organizations now has access to images. These pictures will also be released under a Creative Commons license for use by the general public.

The Google executive commented:

When we started Skybox in 2009 we knew that we had a tremendous opportunity to leverage our imaging capability for positive change in the world. We would be capturing the world at high resolution and with unmatched frequency.

Google Earth Outreach gives nonprofits and public benefit organizations the knowledge and resources they need to visualize their cause and tell their story. In the future, we hope to expand the program to allow many more non-profit organizations and public interest groups to benefit from the use of Skybox data.

Read on: In Google's world

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