Google’s ‘Planet’ [1], a firm in its Alphabet portfolio specialising in geospatial intelligence and monitoring of earth has recently announced a newly awarded contract to provide the US Government’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency [2] with planetary coverage of the earth

Google – Monitoring the earth with its ‘Planet’ offering

As the data warehouse of the world, Google has amassed billions of bits worth of information, including data extracted from products such as Google Maps and its most notable Search. However, it appears that the firm has positioned itself to provide persistent data monitoring and intelligence from the lenses of its many satellites, providing several use cases for the US Government to use, as part of this new contract.

What exactly does the deal entail?

As a matter of fact, Google has been providing the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (also known as the NGA) with data and services since 2016. However, this new contract which is set for a six-month base period, demonstrates the continued relationship between the two entities which now includes subscription to the firm's daily imagery of the designated areas of the world.

Jennifer Marcus [3], Director, US Government Strategic Partnerships stated in the announced covered on Google Planet’s official website [4]: “As part of the contract, Planet will provide NGA with subscription access to daily imagery over select areas of the world. Planet’s high revisit rates and reliable global coverage enable persistent monitoring, ensuring the US government has the most recent and accurate information when making decisions, from monitoring internally displaced people camps to providing aid after natural disasters”.

Clearly, this ongoing relationship, coupled with another deal cemented earlier this year between the two (to explore Planet’s analytics solutions [5]) is a burgeoning feat in private/public partnerships within the planetary monitoring space.

Will the American public trust this type of monitoring?

According the recent events, the current political landscape in America is somewhat polarizing, however citizens of all countries face the dilemma of data mismanagement, even with recent comments from one of the Internet’s most notable founders [6] calling for a respect for privacy. It will be interesting to see, going forward, how the everyday public perceive and react socio-politically such as this.