Bloomberg Businessweek

Interrogating the Planet

Orbital Insight’s software can measure economic activity from crop yields to oil use

Google’s long-running quest has been “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This corporate mantra focuses, for the most part, on arranging and analyzing data produced by humans, be it websites, books, calendar appointments, or the location of businesses around a city. But what if instead of gathering the world’s information from the ground up, you could begin organizing all of that data from above by looking down at Planet Earth itself? This has been the mission of Orbital Insight.

Founded in 2013, Orbital pulls in images snapped by satellites and uses them to watch and analyze human activity. It can monitor the number of cars in Walmart parking lots across the U.S. to see

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