Want to know the location of every freighter and cruise ship plying the Earth’s oceans? That data isn’t easy to get, but a Canadian company can sell it to you, thanks to its view of the Earth from space.
Since 2010, Cambridge, Ont.-based exactEarth Ltd. has been “mining” data about shipping traffic on Earth using satellites — a technique that could potentially be used to collect other, new kinds of valuable data.
“Until we started doing this…you had little bits of information, but you really didn’t have a complete domain awareness of what’s out there,” said Philip Miller, the company’s vice president of engineering and operations.
“Once a ship leaves the shore, essentially they’re a sovereign entity …. A captain can go where he wants. And from shore you didn’t know what was happening unless you contacted the ship and asked — whereas now we’re watching, and we know where they go.”