A constellation of satellites will soon create 3D maps of the Earth

NUVIEW, a Florida based startup, is building a constellation of satellites, using the LiDAR technology,
Sejal Sharma
Representative image
Representative image


Satellites passing over us take photos of our planet using high-resolution cameras with large lenses and then send them back to Earth. Apart from tracking human activity, satellite images help in meteorology, weather forecasting, and monitoring our physical environments such as air, water, and vegetation. 

While the current satellite imagery provides a 2D view of the planet, a space research and technology company based out of Florida announced that it will soon be able to capture and map the entire surface of the Earth in 3D. 

The company, NUVIEW, is building a constellation of satellites, using LiDAR technology, which will collect data ‘more than 100 times faster than current commercial aerial solutions.’

The company made the announcement during the Geospatial World Forum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. NUVIEW has amassed $1.2 billion in contracts, although it remains unclear when the company will be launching its LiDAR constellation.

"NUVIEW is thrilled to be leading a new era in geospatial technology to provide the first, most complete, high-resolution 3D point cloud of the Earth's surface," said Clint Graumann, CEO & Co-Founder of NUVIEW, in an official press release. "Our LiDAR satellite constellation will offer a wealth of information that has never before been available at scale, driving innovation and progress throughout numerous industries and revolutionizing the way we understand and interact with our planet.”

Short for Light Detection And Ranging, LiDAR utilizes pulsed lasers to accurately and constantly measure distances to a given target or area. LiDAR sensors, based around pulse laser beams, are light-based mapping and measurement tools that are useful in a variety of sectors. In fact, LiDAR platforms are mounted on a number of satellites orbiting the Earth, like NASA's Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), and a LiDAR sensor was installed on the International Space Station in 2019.

NUVIEW plans to employ LiDAR data to monitor infrastructure development, urban growth, and natural events, which will play a critical role in climate change, forestry, and disaster response. As per a press release by the company, NUVIEW’s technology will enable farmers to optimize crop yields and water usage, while city planners can create more efficient and sustainable urban environments. The geospatial industry is expected to grow up to $1.7 trillion and NUVIEW is looking to make heavy inroads to unlock the potential of this market.

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