NASA has made its raw satellite data widely available for a long while. Now that it has a privatization-minded leader, though, it’s looking to make that data more palatable for the business crowd.
The administration has released a Remote Sensing Toolkit that should make it easier to use observational satellite info for commercial purposes, including straightforward business uses as well as conservation and research.
The move consolidates info that used to be scattered across “dozens” of websites, and helps you search that unified database for helpful knowledge — you don’t have to go to one place for atmospheric studies and another to learn about forests.
The kit includes both some ready-to-use tools for making sense of satellite content as well as the code companies can use to craft their own tools.
It’s easy to see concerns that NASA might downplay purely scientific uses of its data as a result. Still, this might be overdue. The earlier approach may have offered massive amounts of content (petabytes, NASA said), but there was no one repository where you could find everything you needed.
This could encourage more use of that data for all purposes, not just for companies hoping to make a profit.