After a four-year hiatus, leaders in the space sector, and humanitarian and climate communities are on their way to Washington DC for SatSummit. A lot has changed in four years. There is so much to catch up on and share.
SatSummit is a really special community. It is an amazing and diverse community defined by optimism and impatience. This community is united and fueled by its work to accelerate the application of satellite data to earth’s greatest challenges.
During the last SatSummit in 2018, it felt as though we were entering an era of consolidation. Today we are very much enjoying an era of proliferation. It is an exciting time to be working in this sector. There are exciting new capabilities, new satellites, and constellations, new datasets, and new AI capabilities. The size and urgency of the challenge are also growing – severe weather is growing more extreme; the climate crisis is accelerating; confidence in science and democratic institutions is eroding, and we sit on the precipice of great power conflict.
Here are some things that I’ll be tracking at this year's SatSummit:
How have the challenges facing global development and the humanitarian sector evolved? How has COVID impacted development priorities and how we work? How are global development organizations shifting their work to address the climate crisis? Is Environmental Justice a buzzword in the portfolio or a meaningful change in the way that this work is prioritized, designed, and implemented?
I’m excited for new constellations and capabilities – NISAR and new commercial SAR constellations, new GHG monitoring constellations, BIOMASS and other great data from ESA’s Copernicus program. Can we expect a step change in our ability to monitor forests and improve carbon accounting?
Where are we in the transition to managing data on the cloud? What cloud optimized data formats are we standardizing around and what is still the Wild West? I believe that the cloud transition creates opportunities to facilitate open and collaborative science, accelerate AI and insight generations, speed the transition from research to application, and get earth insights into the pockets of everyday decision-makers. Are we seeing these benefits?
Has anyone cracked the code of how to deliver earth insights in a manner that impacts the billions of daily decisions that can benefit from these insights?
How will global conflict shape our work? How much do we need to worry about anti-satellite technology impacting my work? How is satellite data impacting the shape of conflict in Ukraine and beyond? Anusuya Datta made the observation that satellite imagery might be having its "CNN moment" akin to how the First Gulf War shaped and was shaped by the emergence of 24-hour news.
What is the current state of the art in AI and Forecasting and Prediction? How can we accelerate access to data and tools? What data, tools, and workflows are needed to empower more communities to build localized AI that suits their needs?
What are my fellow founders seeing in the sector? What are they excited about? What has them worried?
.. and a ton more.
Thanks to everyone coming to SatSummit to share your ideas and perspectives. Thanks especially to all the speakers, supporters, sponsors, superheroes for all the great energy and willingness to serve this community. A special shout out to SatSummit co-organizers DevGlobal and Cyient, in particular Rhiannan and Jubal. SatSummit wouldn’t be here without you.