Homing in on the big picture in the South China Sea

Co-ordinating multi-resolution satellites to help detect irregular activities at sea.


Co-ordinating multi-resolution satellites to help detect irregular activities at sea.

Our approach.

When you’re dealing with vessels spread across vast areas, or monitoring far-flung, inaccessible locations, finding anything fast is a challenge. Whether you work in maritime surveillance, vessel monitoring or ship detection, you need information to help you decide how to deploy your resources and budget as efficiently as possible. And getting up-to-date, reliable information quickly can be difficult when you don’t – or can’t – have people on the ground.

By coordinating our network of satellites, we can give you cost-effective access to multi-resolution imagery of – and revealing insights about – the maritime locations that matter to you.

Using a technique called tipping and cueing, we detect changes over a wide area and then collect high-resolution imagery only in key areas. Two or more satellites work together to gather images: one satellite with a wide swath gets the broad picture of a location then, in areas where we spot changes or interesting activity, we task another higher resolution satellite to capture a more detailed image.


Watching Fiery Cross Reef evolve. From coastal reef…

For more than 2 years, our satellites have been observing Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. Our images show how sand was dredged from the sea bed and packed into the reef to create a solid base to build on.


…to military base.

Next, construction work gradually transformed the reef into a military base with facilities including an airstrip, barracks, radar or sensor arrays, hangars and point defences. Large underground structures, which could be intended to store munitions, have also been created.




Get eyes on inaccessible locations.

If geography or politics mean you can’t be there in person, our satellites have you covered. We can capture the whole of the Earth’s surface – with no restrictions.

Receive critical data in near real time.

When a situation is unfolding rapidly, our 24/7 Emergency Tasking service can deliver images to you in under 30 minutes.

Focus on the areas that interest you.

To help you get more insight for your budget, we use medium-resolution imagery to detect areas to investigate before we ‘zoom in’ with our very high-resolution satellites.