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How low-latency satellite access saves lives

Low-latency access: when you can’t afford to wait

During a humanitarian crisis, satellite imagery plays a crucial role in identifying and prioritizing needs as well as mobilizing resources. In order to prevent or respond to human suffering, public and private organizations need rapid access to quality information.

When it comes to satellite access, latency is the amount of time that passes between tasking the satellite and receiving the image. Most satellite imagery providers offer high-latency access, meaning customers often wait up to a week after placing an order to receive usable imagery. But for customers who can’t afford to wait, a low-latency imagery provider is required. For that reason, Maxar guarantees access to processed imagery within 24 hours.

Preventing human trafficking

This area along the Gulf of Aden is experiencing a massive uptick in human trafficking activity. In 2018, our satellites captured key points of interest on February 12 and later, June 26. Here we can see smuggling vessels and a refugee camp.

By tracking points of interest like these, we can monitor shifts in activity and pinpoint areas with high densities of refugees. Maxar high-resolution imagery coupled with low-latency access, enables advanced analysis and expedited intervention.

The reference map shows the locations of images 1 and 2 within Somalia. Image one shows smuggling vessels and image two shows a refugee camp. The evidence of an increased amount of activity in both areas warrants an increased law-enforcement presence. Bad actors are constantly on the move, so intelligence needs to be equally agile. Sometimes, the difference between refugee lives and another tragic statistic is timely satellite access to inform a rapid response.

Responding to humanitarian crises

After natural disaster struck Freetown, Sierra Leone, Maxar commanded its nearest satellite to capture post-event imagery. Mudflows devastated the area, leaving many trapped inside buildings.

With available Maxar archive images, authorities were able to cross-reference pre and post-event imagery to identify areas of high-impact and safe routing to reach those in need.

Image 1 shows the area of interest on March 15, 2017. It highlights what would become the area leveled by the mudflow. Image 2 shows the area of interest on August 15, 2017, about 24 hours after the mudflow took place. It highlights the physical expanse of the mudflow.

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