The first Satellite Data Interoperability Workshop is happening next week!

A couple of months ago I posted about the Analysis Ready Data (ARD) Workshop we’ve been putting together, and I also mentioned the third SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog Sprint (STAC) in my last STAC update post. It’s been exciting to see the momentum for both build, and since it is happening next week, I thought it would be a good time to check in and share the progress.

We’ve combined the ARD and STAC events into what we’re calling the Satellite Data Interoperability Workshop; and we’ve pivoted on the location, to be able to accommodate the incredible response we’ve been seeing. USGS has kindly agreed to host the whole event in their Menlo Park campus, and we’re at over 100 confirmed attendees.

“Solving geospatial search and preparing imagery for analysis in a way that goes beyond a single provider necessitates an industry-wide collaboration; and the best way we know to spur cooperation is to bring people together to share what they’ve done and get to know each other.”

Event Genesis

The overall goal of the event is to advance the interoperability of satellite data. The reality is that the use of satellite imagery is still a small niche, even though increased knowledge of our planet has the potential to make a huge difference in everyone’s lives. We believe a significant reason it remains a niche field is that going from raw pixels to actionable insight is still very difficult. As an industry, we force users to search for relevant data in many different locations and then put it on them to pre-process the imagery properly to perform their analysis.

Solving geospatial search and preparing imagery for analysis in a way that goes beyond a single provider necessitates an industry-wide collaboration; and the best way we know to spur cooperation is to bring people together to share what they’ve done and get to know each other. We’ve gained notable momentum on geospatial search, with the collaboration around the SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog specification. This workshop will include our third ‘sprint’ on the topic. At the Last sprint, we partnered with a sprint on Web Feature Service 3.0 and got tremendous cross-topic collaborations.

This time we decided to pair the STAC Sprint with the trend towards Analysis Ready Data. Ignacio Zuleta at Planet got really excited about how we’ve been doing STAC. He had been attending various Landsat and Sentinel workshops and was inspired to help bridge from the amazing government satellite interoperability work to the growing commercial satellite industry. He and I subsequently started feeling out our traditional collaborators if there’d be interest in such an event.


Radiant.Earth was our first stop, as the natural convener, since they are a non-profit aiming to help the Earth Imagery industry make an impact on the world’s problems. They were excited to build on the success of STAC, as they brought together that first collaboration. So with Radiant.Earth on board to bring a diverse group together we looked for our foundational sponsors.

Shawna Wolverton, Planet’s Chief Product Officer (and my boss, when I wear my Planet hat), gave her support right away, understanding the value of working across an industry. Maxar (as DigitalGlobe and Radiant Solutions when we started) has been a supporter of STAC from the beginning, and instantly got the value of helping with interoperability at the data level, and stepped up to join Planet as a convening sponsor.

From there we’ve had a fantastic set of organizations come in to help sponsor.

CosmiQ Works, PCI Geomatics, The Climate Corporation and Astraea all signed up as sponsors in the last few weeks, and have made a real difference in the event we could pull off. We also have Azavea, Cosine Measurement Systems and Vulcan as supporters of the workshop. We are still taking additional sponsors — the t-shirts are already being printed — but we can include your organization on the next event t-shirt. A huge thank you to all our sponsors for making this event not only possible but impressive.


One of the things we are most excited about is the range of organizations that are represented. It spans companies, governments, academic institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations, with substantial representation from each sector.

Companies: PCI Geomatics, Azavea, Maxar, Planet, Vito, Starlight, Astrodigital, Google, Harris, Element 84, Development Seed, Urthecast, AMS Kepler, Climate Corp, Pioneer, Hexagon, Tellus Labs, Granular, Blackstream Associates, SparkGeo, Space Imaging, GeoVille, Boundless, Sinergise, Astrea, Lockheed, Satellogic, Descartes Labs, cosine measurement systems

Governments: Government of Queensland, GeoScience Australia, State of Alaska, ESA, NASA, USGS, NGA, NOAA, and USGS.

Academics: UC Irvine, South Dakota State, Boston University, University of Maryland, University of Illinois, UC Davis, University College of London, and University of Muenster.

Non-Governmental Organization’s: Radiant.Earth, CEOS, CosmiQ Works, Carnegie Institute of Science, Woods Hole Research Center, Satellite Applications Catapult, Open Geospatial Consortium, The Nature Conservancy, and Vulcan.

Event Goals & Agenda

As mentioned above, the overall goal is to push forward on the interoperability of satellite data. With SpatioTemporal Asset Catalogs we will continue to advance the specification, aiming towards a 0.6.0 release with a push towards stability on the core, and continued articulations of ‘extensions’ for specific use cases and asset types. For Analysis Ready Data we don’t want to be prescriptive on the outcomes, but we are pushing for real tangible results, driving towards standards on the production of Analysis Ready Data, particularly for creating stacks of data that come from multiple providers. We’ve got an incredible program of diverse organizations sharing their experience with ARD.

The goal is to move beyond just talk, to work to create the equivalents of the STAC specification, plus related tooling, but for the creation of ARD. We hope that this event is the beginning of much greater industry and government collaboration to make satellite data more accessible for everyone to use and that similar events and sprints to push things forward more will follow.

We’ve got a great program, with a lot of amazing talks, which you can download and view. Note registration is required, we will be checking sign-ups. If you are not confirmed but would like to attend, please send an email to cholmes at radiant dot earth, as we may have some last minute slots open up.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week! We’ll report back with all the outcomes, and will aim to record a number of the talks.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Chris Holmes

Product Architect @ Planet, Board Member @ Open Geospatial Consortium, Technical Fellow @ Radiant.Earth