Maxar has had a presence in Europe for decades, providing customers across the government and commercial sectors with advanced geospatial intelligence products and services. Over the past few years, current events across Europe—including the war in Ukraine—have driven a significant growth in the awareness of, and interest in, geospatial products. Everyone from political leaders to academic researchers have seen first-hand how these technologies can help drive transparency, monitor change and inform data-driven decision making.

To learn more about Maxar’s presence in Europe and how our work in the region has evolved over time, we caught up with our London-based colleague Katarzyna Dec, Account Services Manager in Maxar’s Earth Intelligence business segment.

Maxar’s Katarzyna Dec recently attended the recent Space-Comm Expo in London, England.

Q: How long have you been at Maxar and how did you end up in the geospatial industry?

Katarzyna: I have been at Maxar for seven years. I am originally from Poland and moved to London 13 years ago after receiving my master’s degree. I earned a master’s degree in geography, and I’ve always had an interest in joining the geospatial industry. My first job in London was in the banking sector working as a personal loan adviser. After a couple of years, I decided I needed a change of direction and pursued a postgraduate geographic information system (GIS) certificate, which opened a lot of new doors. My first geospatial industry job was working as a mapping administrator making route maps. I joined Maxar a short while later.

Q: What customers do you support at Maxar?

Katarzyna: I play a key role in maintaining our relationship with European Space Imaging (EUSI), Maxar’s European distributor for satellite imagery. They distribute our data to a wide range of customers, including the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Copernicus program, which falls under the European Union’s Earth observation initiatives. This program provides Earth observation data to service providers, public authorities and other international organizations that are working to improve the quality of life for citizens around the world. The data is used to support emergency response, global food security, border control and homeland security. I also work with government customers across Eurasia and North Africa.

Q: How is the geospatial sector evolving across Europe?

Katarzyna: There is a growing awareness of the value of geospatial intelligence. Last year, Maxar’s delivery of near real-time imagery of the war in Ukraine was a big eye-opener for many people. This data has been crucial for decision making on the ground and for enabling global transparency around the conflict and its impact on security-related issues. For example, Maxar’s imagery helped provide context around the war’s impact on Ukrainian wheat crop yields, which are critical in the global food supply chain. Stakeholders across Europe followed this issue closely. The circumstances are very sad, but they gave the world an opportunity to learn more about the importance of our industry. This awareness is creating some strong growth opportunities across our entire product portfolio.

Q: How is Maxar helping to grow the industry across Europe?

Katarzyna: In the past, we’ve hosted a customer conference that has brought together over 400 senior level leaders from government and commercial organizations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. We also engage in important local events such as the Defense and Security Equipment International and the Global Defence Geospatial Intelligence conferences. To grow the industry, we must also engage the public and youth. To that end, Maxar is a proud partner of Leicester Space Park and we also do a lot of academic outreach. One example is partnering in a back to school initiative for Sudbury Primary School in Wembley, England.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

Katarzyna: Two of the projects close to my heart include providing data to help a high-profile nonprofit organization remove plastic debris from the Pacific Ocean and some of the world’s biggest rivers, as well as helping an ecological research and consulting company leverage our data and machine learning algorithms to monitor whale populations. When I’ve had a little bit of free time, I’ve checked some of the collections we made for this customer in our SecureWatch platform, even finding a whale with my own eyes!

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