WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has extended its contract with Maxar Technologies to provide 3D geospatial data used to create immersive digital environments, the company announced Feb. 27.

Maxar was awarded Phase 3b of the U.S. Army’s One World Terrain (OWT) contract originally awarded in 2019 to Vricon, a company Maxar acquired in 2020. Vricon uses data from Maxar’s imaging satellites to make 3D mapping products. 

The three phases of the One World Terrain prototype project are worth $94.7 million.

Under the project, Maxar’s 3D digital twin of the Earth is used to develop highly accurate immersive training environments for the U.S. Army and maps for autonomous vehicle navigation.

“The evolution of One World Terrain shows how 3D terrain and information services are becoming essential tools for planning and decision-making not just for the U.S. Army but for a wide range of military, civil and commercial institutions,” said Tony Frazier, Maxar’s executive vice president and general manager for public sector Earth intelligence. 

Phase 3a in 2022 work focused on improving the fidelity of the 3D terrain data and refining the automation processes to generate realistic terrain derived from Maxar’s satellite imagery, the company said.

In Phase 3b, expected to last a year, Maxar will work with open-source geospatial data to improve the Army’s prototype system and evaluate the use of data collected by small unmanned aerial vehicles.

A key goal for the geospatial industry is to deliver accurate global representations of the Earth as a reference foundation, Maxar said.

The company last week announced the launch of SYNTH3D, a high-performance, geotypical 3D representation of the entire planet for gaming, simulation, entertainment, virtual reality, smart cities and metaverse.Developed through a partnership between Maxar and blackshark.ai, SYNTH3D allows developers and creators to simulate and visualize 3D environments representative of real-world locations where aesthetics and performance are key to commercial applications.

Maxar 3D image of downtown St. Louis.

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...