Q&A: What could cheaper satellite imagery do for the SDGs?

A map of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in 2004 by the DigitalGlobe. Photo by: Zack Adlington / CC BY-NC-ND

DENVER, Colorado — When nonprofit leaders enter the headquarters of DigitalGlobe, they often wait in the lobby beneath a glass ceiling shaped like a satellite dish, then walk into their meeting asking what can be offered for free.

“More often than not, development folks will approach DigitalGlobe or other companies expecting us all to act in the same way — that we are a funder, or that data philanthropy is our approach to the community, and everything should be free and this is why,” said Rhiannan Price, director of DigitalGlobe’s Global Development Program, a commercial vendor of satellite imagery and geospatial analysis based outside Denver, Colorado.

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    Catherine Cheney

    Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.