Sustained Monitoring in Indo-Pacific Region


A spy balloon’s recent trip across the United States raised lots of questions for ordinary Americans, most of whom don’t pay much attention to China’s military intentions or surveillance operations.

For the US national security establishment, however, the spy balloon was the latest incident involving increased tension between Washington and Beijing.

The stand-off encompasses the entire Indo-Pacific region, with hotspots spread across a vast geography, from the East China Sea, South China Sea, Taiwan Strait and Himalayas, underscoring Beijing’s desire to test the resolve of so many neighbors.

As illustrated by the war in Ukraine, a prolonged conflict can have consequences that go beyond the fighting. Global supply chains can be disrupted, for example, hurting the lives of people around the world who no longer receive vital goods, such as food or fuel, or cannot afford to pay the higher prices.

It was only after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that there was a full appreciation of the outsized role that the region plays in providing much-needed calories. The Indo-Pacific is another region whose importance to the global economy cannot be overstated.

There is a need for a tool to monitor the many scenarios involved on land and at sea, and that provides the user with actionable insights.

Global Monitoring Service

With Ursa Space’s recent launch of a Global Monitoring Service (GMS), satellite-derived insights in near real-time delivery are possible.

We offer packages across the globe for a variety of industries and use cases to enable out-of-the-box access to GIS features, with no additional processing necessary.

In Eastern Asia, we include 47 areas of interest encompassing energy infrastructure, military bases, ports and open water for maritime awareness (see map).

The solution’s foundation comes from our virtual constellation, which provides the satellite imagery, along with custom analytics developed by our in-house experts.

The analytics applied to the GMSS product currently include:

  • Vessel detection (AIS-correlated & suspected dark ships)
  • Object detection
  • Aircraft recognition
  • Vehicle recognition

The results can be viewed in our dashboard with out-of-the-box visualizations on Esri’s ArcGIS app.

Competing territorial claims

The Indo-Pacific region is home to longstanding territorial disputes, fueled by a desire to control land and water with significant economic value.

Taiwan is a semiconductor powerhouse. One company, TSMC, produces 92% of the world’s high-end semiconductors.

The South China Sea is the world’s busiest, most important waterway in the world. There is also an abundance of natural resources, including fisheries as well as oil & natural gas deposits beneath the surface.

The East China Sea is significant for reasons similar to the South China Sea. A dispute over East China Sea islets (Diaoyu/Senkaku) claimed by China and Japan is a perennial sticking point in bilateral relations.

With much at stake, it’s not surprising that the threat of full-scale military action hangs over the region, drawing intense scrutiny from the international community.

Eastern Asia is one of the regions covered in Ursa’s Global Monitoring Service, which is now ready for trial.





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