CASE STUDY: Airbus Defence and Space

How can you offer vital and reliable geographical context based on satellite imagery to help build geospatial applications and solve business challenges? The OneAtlas Basemap service developed by Airbus Defence and Space is up to the challenge.

However, providing an overall seamless visual experience to all users within the application was an issue that had to be tackled. PlanetObserver was up to the challenge by offering PlanetSAT Global imagery mosaic.

BACKGROUND – Useful satellite imagery in OneAtlas Basemap

Airbus Defence and Space is a leader in European space business and an international pioneer in Earth observation services. They are the supplier of choice for commercial satellite imagery. The company has unrivalled expertise in satellite imagery acquisition, data processing, fusion, dissemination and intelligence extraction.

Airbus Defence and Space has developed the OneAtlas Basemap streaming service that delivers access to its satellite imagery over the world. It aims at providing powerful resources and context to enable quicker and more reliable decision-making.

The Basemap service offers efficient very high resolution imagery. Indeed, it is a structured single layer of Pléiades (50cm) and SPOT (1.5m) imagery that has been curated to include the highest-quality data available. The Basemap is also constantly updated with new imagery with a commitment to refresh the entire world’s landmass annually.

CHALLENGE – How to improve end users’ visual experience

The Airbus Basemap includes a second dataset which is a medium-resolution global imagery mosaic. Initially, that zoom level was not color balanced or mosaicked. Users were looking for a seamless layer at a higher zoom level for more of a global view.

Why did Airbus face that challenge? OneAtlas Basemap service had been developed with a focus on very high resolution imagery whose quality was highly appreciated by end-users. However, some were also asking for better visual quality and homogeneity for the medium resolution layer.

Therefore, the client’s objective was to include a high quality global medium-resolution imagery mosaic in order to provide a coherent and seamless view of the world in the first zoom levels of the product use. This would highly improve the quality of the service and offer a better user experience to all customers.

SOLUTION – PlanetSAT Global imagery

When PlanetObserver was approached by Airbus Defence and Space, we were totally thrilled by the project. Our off-the-shelf global imagery mosaic PlanetSAT Global could indeed totally meet their expectations. The challenge was to convince Airbus that this product was by far the better option to improve their service.

The product performances were detailed, in terms of visual experience and visual coherence with Airbus imagery. Quality control processes implemented throughout our production chain were presented, from data input to completion of the finished product.

References of key customers using PlanetSAT Global basemap as background layer in their applications were shared. Just to name a few: IGN, the French Cartographic Institute and their mapping platform Geoportail, the MetService of New Zealand for MetraWeather solution, and Dassault Aviation for aircraft test bed solutions.

Airbus DS had to get a direct experience with the product. Therefore, large scale product samples were provided in different formats for the customer’s internal evaluation. This testing phase did play a decisive part in the customer’s final decision. Being able to play with the product was certainly worth a thousand words and technical specs.

BENEFITS – Seamless and visually stunning global imagery

Finally, our product PlanetSAT Global was selected by Airbus from several different options. Our long-term expertise in satellite imagery processing truly made the difference. The key differentiators were the visual quality, data homogeneity and freshness of the product. On top of the automatic data processing, we care to do a final manual color enhancement. This final touch provides unrivalled color balance and rich geographical information. Indeed, all details of the original source data are kept in the final product.

Airbus DS was expecting an off-the-shelf product. Therefore, our ready-to-use global imagery mosaic was the perfect fit. We’ve been very reactive to provide the requested deliverables. FTP deliveries were organized within a few days.  

Airbus also pointed out that their feedbacks should be considered in terms of product updates and improvements. We committed to hear and take into account what they had to say after the full implementation of our product in their solution. 

The client’s objective was to offer an enhanced user experience and better service to their customers. This objective was totally achieved after implementing our product in the Basemap. The services have been boosted with 100% realistic and up-to-date medium-resolution global imagery. The immediate benefits were a better platform that provides a consistent and reliable context to professional grade geospatial applications.

« We have successfully updated the Airbus OneAtlas Basemap with PlanetSAT Global imagery mosaic. It must be said that it has surpassed our expectations. We really like the enhancements that the medium resolution imagery layer has brought to OneAtlas Basemap services in terms of global overview and the more homogenous transition from to lower to higher zoom levels. Thanks to the PlanetObserver team for this achievement. Their product has really improved the user experience. »

– Nicolas Vernon, Product Manager OneAtlas Basemap.

Airbus Basemap can be used in numerous professional applications that rely on geographic context, geospatial analysis and map creation. The two most common uses are as an embedded background layer and as a GIS foundation. Therefore, enhancing the medium resolution imagery layer provided valuable and reliable geographical information to all users. 

THE FUTURE – A long-term collaboration

In the long term, we’re committed to continuously update and upgrade PlanetSAT Global imagery mosaic. We release a new product version every year that is enriched with thousands of fresh data. Over time, this work shall benefit Airbus and all their end-users.

Airbus is very happy with our product as it has helped them improve the user experience of their Basemap services. As a result, Airbus has extended our collaboration for two more years, till 2023! We’re delighted to continue the collaboration with Airbus and work in close partnership with their team to join our efforts to offer better products and services to all end-users.

You want to find out more on how our imagery products ?

Let’s talk ! For more information please contact us at info@planetobserver.com.