How DigitalGlobe’s satellite imagery is going to help improve OpenStreetMap

Not one but two new satellite layers for tracing the whole world!


Satellite imagery is an essential component that OpenStreetMap mappers use every day to improve the ever-growing wiki world map. And things just got a lot better for OSM with DigitalGlobe’s new satellite imagery service for OpenStreetMap that makes two new global satellite imagery layers directly available inside OpenStreetMap’s ID Editor.

The two new layers i.e. DigitalGlobe-Premium and DigitalGlobe-Standard are going to help OSM mappers easily identify and trace ever-evolving human-made features across the world and aid them in their quest to expand OpenStreetMap.

Previously, OSM mappers were able to use Bing and Mapbox Satellite imagery layers for tracking features.

openstreetmap digitalglobe image of mexico city
Mexico City, Mexico. Imagery (c) DigitalGlobe. Map (c) OpenStreetMap contributors

A bit more info regarding the two Satellite imagery layers, as listed on the OpenStreetMap Wiki page regarding the satellite imagery service

  • DigitalGlobe-Premium is a mosaic composed of DigitalGlobe basemap with select regions filled with +Vivid or custom area of interest imagery, 50cm resolution or better, and refreshed more frequently with ongoing updates
  • DigitalGlobe-Standard is a curated set of imagery covering 86% of the earth’s landmass, with 30-60cm or resolution where available, backfilled by Landsat. Average age is 2.31 years, with some areas updated 2x year.

Why is this important? 

OpenStreetMap relies upon the hundreds of thousands of users who edit the map – adding & deleting roads, buildings, places and a lot of other human-made structures. More often than not, this is a process that involves satellite imagery serving as a background canvas that the mappers can use to trace. Having accurate, high-resolution and up-to-date satellite imagery inside OpenStreetMap editors makes this a lot easier for the community to keep OSM updated and accurate. (Related: Google Maps vs OpenStreetMap).

SOURCEOpenStreetMap Wiki
I am one of those passionate "Geo-geeks" and "Geo-people" who is just too excited about everything Geo and Management. Location information and spatial technologies are just too big to take a back seat and watch them revolutionize the world. Always curious and looking for ways to innovate, I guess that it comes naturally by the gene pool I inherited from an engineer Mom and a researcher Dad.