You remember that scene from Enemy of the State when the technical guy redirects a satellite with just a few keystrokes to spy on Will Smith and Hugh Jackman talking on the rooftop?
When I first entered Earth Observation(EO) scene I thought I’ll be that guy. Satellites flying around the globe, me sitting in my pyjamas in front of a laptop, sipping tea, with all this high space tech under control of my fingertips. It was a bit disappointing when I’ve learned that paradoxically EO space sector is much more down to earth and it’s a lot of clicking and visiting multiple web pages and spending a lot of time on data browsing. BROWSING. Seriously? No redirecting satellites? No live view? I was hoping for some dynamics, I wanted to take pictures from the orbit, see satellites flying, images streamed to my screen in real-time! Press few keys on my keyboard and get the freshest image! But then again, I’d also like a new Tesla Roadster in my garage but that’s not gonna happen any time soon.
Fortunately unlike with the Roadster for which we’ll have to wait at least till 2020 to not be able to afford it, we can do something about that former dream a bit sooner. Spectator is an attempt to fulfil it and today we’re releasing it’s beta version!
There is a number of great apps for browsing satellite data. But you don’t use your digital camera for browsing images, don’t you? Exactly. Spectator’s goal is to find an optimal balance between limitations of satellite earth observation and infinite possibilities presented to us by software technologies. We want to let people, unfamiliar with satellite cameras take pictures from the orbit in a way no different to using their smartphones and enable professionals to focus on developing awesome applications with platform that takes care of gathering the data, visualising the results and sharing them with collaborators and clients. We also want to make EO a bit more real-time from user perspective and instead of browsing archives of the past, look a bit into the future.
It is a beta version.
So what does this mean exactly? Well, images aren’t fake, satellite positions are real and you can create your own satellite constellations. Nevertheless, Spectator still requires few tweaks here and there and with the help of your feedback, my dear reader, we can speed up that process. In exchange we promise to deliver plenty of new features, gradually approaching the aforementioned goal. We want to create the best earth observation platform available with you at its centre.