WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies announced Jan. 4 it secured a contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to provide advanced satellite imagery and data for 3D maps and models. 

Maxar Intelligence, a supplier of high-resolution satellite imagery, will provide a 3D data bundle covering 160,000 square kilometers within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility, the company said. 

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command oversees all U.S. military operations in the Indo-Pacific region that stretches across South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania and the Pacific Islands.

NGA is a U.S. government agency that provides geospatial intelligence to the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. Geospatial intelligence uses maps, overhead imagery and other data to help understand the physical world. The high-resolution 3D mapping data will support NGA’s Office of Geomatics, which maintains geographical intelligence for U.S. defense and intelligence applications.

Separately from the Indo-Pacom contract, NGA also awarded Maxar a contract worth about $1.8 million for 3D data analytics tools, according to a contract announcement posted by NGA on Dec. 26.Maxar won a competitive award under an NGA program known as “Boosting Innovative Geoint Research Broad Agency Announcement.” 

Maxar’s Precision3D image of Tokyo, Japan. Credit: Maxar Technologies.

Traditional satellite imagery provides a 2D bird’s-eye view of the Earth’s surface. But new photogrammetry techniques allow imagery to be transformed into highly detailed 3D maps and models.  Maxar offers a Precision3D Data Suite that uses multiple images of an area taken from different angles to mathematically construct 3D representations with accurate depths and dimensions.

“Maxar Intelligence is proud to have secured this award to provide the NGA with commercial 3D data, which speaks to the NGA’s strong partnership with industry and the growing business case for utilizing unclassified, high-quality commercial geospatial data to support national security needs,” said Susanne Hake, the company’s general manager for U.S. government business.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...