SatSummit: Disaster response, AI, open data, NASA, and food security from space

Sep 19, 2018

We’re down to the final 10 tickets. SatSummit will be sold out again because of the amazing cross-section of leaders who understand the potential of imagery and maps to solve some of our biggest problems: Sarah Muir from the UN World Food Programme, Christoph Koettl from the New York Times, Yotam Ariel from, Catherin Andrea Alvarez Hernandez from Bogota’s Habitat Department, astronaut Cady Coleman, Megan Smith, CTO under Obama. Folks from DigitalGlobe, The World Bank, NASA, MIT, Amazon Conservation Team — the list goes on. The caliber and diversity of speakers and participants coming this week is humbling.


Nine years ago this month, I landed in DC after my first trip to Kabul. Where we started mapping, the maps were blank so we got good at making tools to make maps. Fast forward to today and advances in imagery, cloud computing, and AI—combined with the powerful sensors sitting in all of our pockets—allow planetary scale analysis of a living map, and the ability to gain insight and make traction in areas of massive humanitarian importance: preventing food crises, detecting gas leaks, disaster response.

SatSummit is a reflection of the moment we’re in. At a time when truth can feel increasingly subjective, the powerful truth of earth observation is more valuable than ever. Last week, while some were debating whether coverage of Hurricane Florence was part of a climate hoax, satellite imagery and AI were allowing NASA to conduct real-time analysis of Florence’s windspeed — as fast as the images arrived.

We’re just scratching the surface of our potential. That’s why we’re aiming to deepen the conversation this year. SatSummit is two days and incorporates panels and workshops — so we can do more than talk about problems, we can work together to solve them. And of course, this year’s after-party will be next-level. It’s at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum — under the satellites and spaceships in the Space Race Gallery. I hope to see you there.