Ursa Space unveiled recently a Python toolbox for satellite analytic and data ordering within Esri ArcGIS Pro, a full-featured professional desktop GIS application.
The toolbox marks a step forward in the adoption of satellite analytics and data. Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations globally, while Ursa Space leverages the world’s largest commercial satellite network to create analytic products across market verticals.
By creating an Ursa Python toolbox in Esri ArcGIS Pro, the combined solution provides more people with insights into physical changes on Earth.
We wanted to drill into this topic further, so we spoke with Trevor McDonald, Ursa Space product manager.
What capabilities does the toolbox unlock for an ArcGIS Pro user?
You can task satellites, choosing from our current providers – Capella and ICEYE – both of which operate synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. In the future, the number of providers could expand, as well as the types of sensors to include, say, optical.
Another future improvement will be the ability for customers to order and purchase analytics using the Python toolbox. It’s like putting a virtual joystick in the customers’ hands, allowing them to monitor an area of interest at a time of their choosing.
There will be a menu of analytic options, such as change detection or ‘dark ship’ vessel detection. We want to limit the decisions that a potential customer needs to make, and speak more directly to the problems they are trying to solve.
How does someone get set up to use the toolbox?
First, you need to download the toolbox and import it into ArcGIS Pro. Once you’re logged on, you define an area of interest, time and satellite provider, and then hit the order button. You receive a confirmation email from us, and then a follow-up email with the deliverable attached, which can be imported and viewed in ArcGIS Pro, if you like.
You’ll need an Ursa Platform account to sign in. If you don’t already have credentials for the Ursa Platform, you can get verified here.
The customer can order from inside the ArcGIS Pro interface, but the transaction is between Ursa and the customer. Likewise, we receive the order through an Ursa API and then deliver the result straight to the customer via email. The format is Esri compatible, so the customer can push it straight to Esri if they like.
Are there particular market verticals for which this would be an ideal fit?
There are sectors where Esri has made major inroads. Defense and intelligence, natural resources, state and local agencies come to mind. Each one has their own set of interests, but there is some overlap, such as water monitoring, which cuts across diverse sectors even if they are approaching the topic from different perspectives.
Is there an example that illustrates a scenario in which the toolbox would be valuable?
When there is a natural disaster, for example, emergency responders can better deploy their resources by finding out where the most severe damage has occurred. Insurance companies can process claims faster. They will be able to use the toolbox to incorporate satellite imagery and analytics into their workflows.
What are the technical skills you would need to access the toolbox?
No coding skills are required. The toolbox was built using Python, but from the user’s perspective, it’s all point-and-click.
If you want an analytic, you won’t have to worry about the technical side of imagery collection.You don’t have to figure out satellite imaging modes or be a remote sensing expert. All you will need to do is provide the time frame, area of interest and select an analytic, such as vessel detection.