— In an effort to give its customers improved access to imagery and expand its archive of remote sensing products, DigitalGlobe has acquired GlobeXplorer, a California-based company that specializes in Web-based sales of satellite and aerial images.


“I have been told by so many people, ‘You know what you need to do? You need to acquire GlobeXplorer,’” Jill Smith, chief executive officer of Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe, said in a Jan. 3 telephone interview. “It’s the combination of two leaders, each in its own field, but in fields that are particularly complimentary.”


Smith declined to reveal how much DigitalGlobe, a privately held remote sensing company with its own satellites, paid for GlobeXplorer. She did say that DigitalGlobe did not have to raise money to finance the transaction.


GlobeXplorer is a privately held 71-person company based in Walnut Creek, Calif., which does not disclose its annual revenue. Its customers include organizations such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co., National Geographic Inc. and a wide variety of city and other local governments.


DigitalGlobe plans to keep operating GlobeXplorer’s facilities in California and Phoenix and retain the majority of the company’s employees, though the companies will share some resources. Smith said DigitalGlobe will re-brand GlobeXplorer’s current product names.


GlobeXplorer has a large library of imagery that it acquires from third parties, particularly aerial firms. Smith said that the acquisition fits into the company’s goal of competing with the aerial market, now that it will have an extensive aerial archive to compliment its satellite imagery. The combined archive will include coverage of 94 percent of the world’s 200 largest cities, she said.


GlobeXplorer has a number of products that are used to deliver imagery to users via the company’s Web site. DigitalGlobe will be integrating its own imagery into that product line, Smith said. The larger Web-based delivery system has been a stated goal for DigitalGlobe, and Smith said GIS professionals and lay users now expect systems to be much more accessible than they have been in the past.