Orbital Insights was founded by James Crawford, the company applies machine learning and artificial intelligence to satellite images. Orbital insights has been sowhat veague on the amount of SAR they have been using until recently in a blog post and a interview with FORBES. We do know that big data or machine learning company using optical satellite imagery uses SAR data to validate their algorithms. The persistence of SAR makes the data much ‘cleaner” and more dependable.
“If there’s a flood, chances are there were clouds,” said Crawford. “If there are clouds, you can’t get images.” That means that it’s hard to tell from satellites how high flood waters during a storm. That’s where Synthetic Aperture Radar (or SAR) data comes in. SAR images come from a satellite electronically simulating a large radar antenna using its own flight path. The resulting image is high-resolution and can peek right through clouds.
“With SAR imagery, we’ll be able to count cars in parking lots at night, giving us a more complete picture of overall traffic,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We’ll be able to monitor agriculture during monsoon season, a key part of the growing cycle. Disaster relief efforts will also benefit from SAR imagery, which will enable us to assess conditions on the ground more quickly, even if the storm clouds have not yet cleared.”