When Epic Games hosted Unreal Fest (a conference for creators using Unreal Engine, the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D tool) earlier this month, Maxar and spoke to the attendees about my two passions: video games and space. Maxar and are converging two formerly disparate industries to create a high-performance, video-game quality representation of the entire planet with buildings that reflect the region where they’re located for flight simulation, visualization, mixed reality applications, business simulations and the metaverse.

Maxar’s space-based satellite imagery and’s artificial intelligence are creating a digital twin of Earth and Unreal Engine 5 will bring it to life for developers. This video shows New Orleans in’s 3D created from Maxar’s Vivid imagery.

Turning a video game hobby into a career

I grew up in Palo Alto as Silicon Valley blossomed and I was always enthralled by computers, video games and virtual spaces. I studied computer science at the University of Pennsylvania and spent the first decade of my career writing code for internet startups before getting my MBA at Stanford and transitioning into the business side of video games.

I joined Electronic Arts (EA) just as phones became games devices, bringing the company’s massive collection of games (The Sims, Battlefield, Madden, FIFA) to hundreds of millions of new gamers via the free-to-play games model. Later, I joined Amazon Games Studios to harness the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build the largest online games world on the market.

But that world pales in comparison to the virtual world that Maxar’s satellite imagery and’s innovative algorithms are making a reality. Together, we are essentially building an enormous, planet Earth-sized video game level. A level that will dramatically change how we do business, consume entertainment, protect our planet and train for critical missions.

Maxar’s Tilt The Map video series partners with to explore New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. fly through New Orleans with Maxar's Precision3D, Blackshark 3D and an example of how an Unreal Engine developer could use this data for a game.

Evolving from 2D to 3D digital experiences

The confluence of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), video games and global-scale satellite imagery is driving a fundamental technology shift from 2D screens to 3D immersion.

The flat screen internet of today will become in the future a 360° digital space where we learn, shop, train, work, meet and experience information. These 3D spaces will come in many forms, some fictional and many that replicate our real world. AR devices will accurately overlay information layers on our planet, VR will transport us from one place to anywhere and digital twin simulations will drive business, political, peace keeping and environmental decision-making. This “real-world” metaverse requires an accurate, up-to-date and data-enriched reference globe to match, monitor and maintain ground truth between the real and 3D versions of our world.

Maxar has the core imagery archive, 3D technology and people to deliver this reference globe. But just as the internet wasn't built by a single company, Maxar will continue to partner with disruptors and make strategic investments in first movers like to complement our offering with purpose-built solutions for new markets.

This 3D image of Brooklyn, New York, was created from Maxar’s Vivid imagery.

We are combining Vivid, our global cloudless imagery basemap featured in many popular mapping applications, with’s unique texturing artificial intelligence (AI) to transform Maxar’s 2D imagery into the stunning 3D visuals. At Unreal Fest, CEO Michael Putz and I spoke about the possibilities this 3D mirror world brings to a variety of industries, including games and entertainment, travel, education, urban planning, architecture and real estate.

The video above is a recap of the speech that Michael Putz and I gave at Unreal Fest.

Based on commercial customer feedback, we understand that there is a market need for a more “lightweight”, large-scale and machine-readable synthetic environment for applications where speed to load, visual quality and user experience take precedence over pixel-level accuracy. Maxar and are working to deliver that solution.

Based on the conversations we had with video game and simulation developers, they are largely unaware that 3D worlds reflecting Earth’s true environment existed. Now, they have that possibility and are excited to leverage Maxar and’s 3D mirror world to build their imaginations!

What will you build?

Explore the New Orleans demo data built with Maxar satellite imagery and’s AI.

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