Blog

09.29.2020 | Earth Intelligence

Raising the Standard for Imagery Basemaps

By: Vicki Bassett, Product Manager for Mapping Products, Maxar Technologies

Read Time: 3 minutes

“Where are you?” he asked.

In early March 2020, just before the coronavirus shut down international travel, I was in London on a business trip. When I called a rideshare service from in front of my hotel, the driver called me because I wasn't where his app said I was. Turns out, he was down the street and around the corner.

“That’s odd,” I thought. “He’s nowhere near me.”

That hit home for me both the need and urgency: higher accuracy maps are critical given how much we rely on them for navigation and finding places and people. Maps need to reflect what we see and experience on the ground.

Maps are only as accurate as the imagery basemaps from which they’re built. That’s why we at Maxar are continuously working to improve our imagery basemaps–the foundation for large-scale mapping. We recently launched the new Vivid Standard basemap, which is raising the standard for global imagery basemaps in terms of spatial accuracy and the types of information that can be extracted.

Improving Spatial Accuracy

Vivid Standard is the first commercially available, off-the-shelf global basemap with consistent 5-meter CE90 accuracy. That’s nearly twice as accurate as our preexisting Vivid 2.0 basemap and the most accurate of any global basemap in the market.

Why does that matter? Because the higher the basemap accuracy, the higher the accuracy of all the data layers, such as road, building and road furniture vectors, extracted from it. And those data layers create the maps we all use every day.

This level of accuracy in Vivid Standard is the difference between having to call your rideshare driver to help them find you versus them pulling up to your exact location for a safe and timely pickup.

The improvement to 5 m CE90 could be the difference between an objector rideshare passengerbeing one street over.

Expanding Derived Insights

Vivid Standard has consistent 50 cm resolution and enhanced aesthetics across the globe, which are key for viewing the basemap as well as extracting ground features using machine learning. The basemap also includes for the first time the near-infrared (NIR) color band, in addition to the typical red, green and blue bands.

The addition of this new fourth band enables analysts to view the basemap as either true-color or color-infrared (CIR). Viewing imagery as CIR makes vegetation stand out as red, unlocking additional insights in the data like large-scale crop health, the presence of green spaces across sprawling urban areas, broad-area land classification and mapping deforestation.

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Calif. Is shown in these Vivid Standard images. The image on the left displays true-color using the red, green and blue bands, while a color-infrared image is on the right.

Raising the Standard

It wasn’t long ago that this level of accuracy and the availability of 4-band imagery basemaps were only available to the savviest of high-tech mappers, but at Maxar, we believe that this should be the standard for all modern mapping. Vivid Standard provides the foundation for better maps that support better human experiences for people around the world.

See Maxar’s Vivid Standard imagery basemap in action–Download a sample.

Prev Post Back to Blog Next Post