exactEarth has successfully launched an earth observation satellite constellation to track Automated Identification System (AIS) data from the world’s shipping traffic. There are a variety of applications for this technology, including safety, supply chain tracking, and military operations, as well as environmental monitoring. Sensors & Systems (S&S) special correspondent Matteo Luccio spoke with Graham Stickler, senior director of Global Marketing at exactEarth, about the different markets for this data and services, the interesting applications, and the implications of this global insight.
S&S: What’s your background?
Stickler: I’ve been in the geospatial industry for 30 years, in various roles, in both the public sector and the private sector. My career started in satellite remote sensing in Africa. Then I moved into GIS when it first became popular in the early 1980s, as a means of disseminating and using remotely sensed data. I spent time in the water industry and working for GIS vendors—I worked for Esri, Unisys, and Laser-Scan/1Spatial. I’ve also done a lot of work on the geospatial database side at a technical level, with ArcSDE, Oracle Spatial and SqlServer Spatial. I’ve worked a lot with open standards, standards adoption, geospatial data quality, and geospatial database management and I have been involved as a working group Chair at the OGC [Open Geospatial Consortium]. I have a wide and varied industry perspective; the longest period I spent in any one specific market is in transportation and asset management.
S&S: Do you have any nautical experience?
Stickler:I don’t really have too much previous nautical or maritime-specific experience, although I do have extensive experience in transportation, asset management, charting and mapping, and geointelligence, all of which I’ve found are very relevant. I was brought into exactEarth primarily because of my geospatial systems and data background as while our IP is focused around satellite systems and data collection, we actually deliver geospatial data to our customers. We are a young company and to begin with we focused our energies on creating the infrastructure, including launching a constellation of satellites, to collect and process AIS [Automated Identification System] data from the world’s shipping. We’ve moved forward and now we are very much looking at how we supply our customers with these data, which is very much a geospatial data challenge, as opposed to a satellite challenge. I was one of the first people recruited into exactEarth with geospatial background to help the company move forward in that manner.