Open Earth Observation Data in the Age of Machine Learning

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.

Not so long ago, there was just one viable source for Earth imaging data: Landsat, a joint program of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey whose mission dates back to 1973. Back then, civilian remote sensing was still in its infancy and commercial satellite operators were unheard of. And yet, the nascent professional remote sensing community was galvanized by the promise of what could be. Decades later, civil society has a wealth of commercial and government Earth observation data to analyze, and more is on the way thanks to a dramatic period of innovation whose day is almost here. Innovation fueled by the confluence of available Earth observation data, machine learning methods, cloud computing and an expanding data science workforce that is eager to create new products and solutions, will change everything. And in some respects, nothing.