Ursa Space and Spire Global Formalize Partnership Detecting Illicit Maritime Activity


The fusion of AIS data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery helps monitor ‘dark’ ships that may be engaging in illegal activity


ITHACA, NY – AUGUST 16, 2022 – The most effective technique to monitor illegal maritime activity requires multiple remote sensing technologies. With this capability in mind, Ursa Space Systems, a geospatial analytics orchestrator, and Spire Global, Inc. (“Spire”), a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics, and space services, have partnered to combine their capabilities and strengthen the ability for U.S. federal customers to monitor maritime activity.

This unique data fusion capability allows Ursa Space and Spire to detect and track ships that have gone “dark” by turning off their AIS signals. A ship turning off its AIS raises a red flag, especially when the ship’s location before and after rouses further suspicion. Dark ships represent a major gap in maritime coverage and hinder efforts to enforce international sanctions, prevent illegal fishing and piracy, and/or follow commodity cargoes from origin to destination.

“Illegal maritime activity has far-reaching implications on national security, economics, human rights and more — but for a long time it was hard to prevent due to the lack of transparency on the open oceans,” said Chuck Cash, Vice President of Federal Sales, Spire. “Our partnership with Ursa Space is a phenomenal demonstration of how data collected from space can improve life on Earth. The complementary nature of AIS data and SAR imagery plays a major role in detecting and preventing illegal maritime activity.”

“Spire has always been a collaborator with a lot of synergy,” said Nicole Robinson, President of Ursa Space. “We’re excited to see this culminate to a more formalized relationship which gives us a sense of purpose to provide insight for safe maritime passage and detection of possibly nefarious events.”


Left to right: Chuck Cash, Vice President of Federal Sales, Spire and Nicole Robinson, President, Ursa Space


Spire contributes to Ursa Space’s virtual constellation by providing crucial AIS data, which has been used previously in covering oil spills, illegal fishing identification, and hurricane impact. In working with Spire, a company which detects AIS signals from over 280,000 vessels to provide real-time vessel tracking, Ursa Space can incorporate AIS data to help identify potentially illegal behavior.

Ursa Space leverages the world’s most comprehensive and progressive virtual constellation from multiple commercial sources and advanced data fusion capabilities, providing insights into physical changes on Earth. Ursa’s platform orchestrates satellite imagery and analytic services at scale, to rapidly deliver to customers insights when needed.

Spire’s constellation of over 100 multipurpose satellites collects Earth observation data that helps its government and commercial customers make data-driven decisions and quickly respond to events with confidence. Spire delivers over 350 million AIS messages daily through an API, providing its customers with a holistic view of vessels across the globe, including coverage in even the most remote or high-traffic zones.



About Ursa Space

Ursa Space Systems is a satellite-analytics-as-a-service company that leverages the world’s largest, most progressive commercial satellite network and advanced data fusion capabilities to provide insights into physical changes on Earth. Our focus is on enabling automated change detection from multiple commercial sources, while eliminating the challenges of sourcing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery and performing change analytics. The company’s subscription and custom services enable clients to access satellite imagery and analytic results with no geographic, political, or weather-related limitations.

Visit www.ursaspace.com for more information. For announcements, follow Ursa Space on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media contact: Emily Lalande, Marketing Manager, emily.lalande@ursaspace.com


About Spire Global, Inc.

Spire (NYSE: SPIR) is a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, offering access to unique datasets and powerful insights about Earth from the ultimate vantage point so that organizations can make decisions with confidence, accuracy, and speed. Spire uses one of the world’s largest multipurpose satellite constellations to source hard to acquire, valuable data and enriches it with predictive solutions. Spire then provides this data as a subscription to organizations around the world so they can improve business operations, decrease their environmental footprint, deploy resources for growth and competitive advantage, and mitigate risk. Spire gives commercial and government organizations the competitive advantage they seek to innovate and solve some of the world’s toughest problems with insights from space. Spire has offices in San Francisco, Boulder, Washington DC, Ontario, Glasgow, Oxfordshire, Luxembourg, and Singapore. To learn more, visit www.spire.com.

Media contact: Kristina Spychalski, Senior Manager, Communications, Kristina.Spychalski@spire.com





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