omniearth satellite
OmniEarth originally planned to develop a constellation of satellites to provide multispectral imagery. Credit: Dynetics

WASHINGTON — OmniEarth, a company that once planned to launch a constellation of Earth imaging satellites and later shifted into analysis of satellite imagery, has been acquired by another data analytics company, EagleView.

Bothell, Washington-based EagleView announced April 26 that it was acquiring OmniEarth, based in Arlington, Virginia, for an undisclosed sum. EagleView plans to incorporate OmniEarth’s technologies to extract data from imagery to its own products, including analysis of aerial imagery.

“By gaining access to EagleView’s world-class Pictometry image library and product infrastructure, the OmniEarth team will be able to accelerate its development of advanced analytic solutions,” Lars Dyrud, president and chief executive of OmniEarth, said in a statement about the acquisition.

“Marrying our high-resolution imagery and existing technologies with this machine learning system will help us accelerate our product development in existing markets as well as enter into new markets,” said Frank Giuffrida, executive vice president of engineering at EagleView, in the statement.

OmniEarth, founded in 2014, originally intended to develop a constellation of imaging satellites. The company announced in May 2014 that it would work with Dynetics, Draper Lab and Harris to develop an 18-satellite constellation to provide “scientific-grade multispectral data” of the Earth on a daily basis. The company projected the system would cost $250 million.

OmniEarth later shifted direction, focusing on analysis of images from other sources rather than producing its own. In a panel on “big data” at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs April 4, Dyrud estimated the global market for data to be worth $9 trillion. He said space imagery will play a key role in that market, but said that such imagery is not yet a commodity.

The acquisition is the third deal involving a company that produces or analyzes satellite images in less than three months. On Feb. 3, Planet announced that it was acquiring Terra Bella from Google, in exchange for Google taking an equity stake in Planet and signing a multi-year contract for images from Planet’s satellites. That deal closed April 18.

On Feb. 24, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates announced it would acquire DigitalGlobe for $2.4 billion. That purchase is expected to close in the second half of 2017.

EagleView itself was the target of an acquisition. Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm, acquired EagleView for an undisclosed sum in July 2015.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...