This is a screen shot showing European aircraft flights in Ball Aerospace's visual data repository, VizZen. Credit: Ball Aerospace

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Ball Aerospace is using expertise it gained building sophisticate sensors and merging various data sets for U.S. government defense and intelligence agencies to build VizZen, a cloud-based content library and visual-data repository for government and commercial customers.

“It brings context to any question you are asking,” said Steven Thomas, VizZen Product Manager.

With VizZen, customers select their own information sources and data layers. Defense customers might, for example, want to merge maps of a particular country with information on the religious affiliations of people living in various areas and the location of radar stations. In contrast, a  commercial real estate firm could use VizZen to overlay satellite imagery of San Francisco with data on residential and commercial development as well as zoning restrictions.

Although Ball has not yet released VizZen, the company unveiled the product to potential customers at the annual GEOINT Symposium, hosted by the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. Ball plans to release VizZen later this summer through Amazon Web Services and to offer classified and unclassified versions.

Ball created VizZen, which is a departure from its traditional aerospace lines of business, in six months by treating the effort as an agile, commercial startup within the company, said Debra Facktor Lepore, Ball’s vice president and general manager of Strategic.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...