DigitalGlobe Satellite Imagery Plays Key Role in Emperor Penguin Protection and Research

Conservation Efforts Underscore Versatility of Company's Offerings

LONGMONT, Colo., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- DigitalGlobe, provider of the world's highest-resolution imagery and geospatial information products, continues its contribution to conservation programs worldwide. Currently, its imagery is playing a key role in the research and protection of Antarctic penguin habitats led by Gerald Kooyman of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego. Kooyman, a distinguished research professor at the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, is a leading authority on the emperor penguin, having researched its populations and behaviors in Antarctica for more than 20 years. Kooyman's research was recently featured in a video news piece on the Discovery News Web site highlighting his use of DigitalGlobe's satellite imagery in his work.

Kooyman's work in tracking penguin populations is subject to the Antarctic weather, leaving only a two month window, between mid-October and late December, for field research. The remoteness of the penguin colonies makes research nearly impossible, with two locations inaccessible to the research teams. Until recently, these difficulties have made tracking the birds extremely challenging. Now, with the aid of DigitalGlobe's high-resolution satellite imagery, Kooyman and his team can collect photographs during October and November, the last two months of the chick-nurturing period. The images are then used to determine the distribution and abundance of adults in the colony and ultimately provide an estimate of how many chicks were produced in the colony, the sea ice conditions of the colony, and the distribution of the colony in relation to local sea ice conditions.

Dyan deNapoli, former senior penguin aquarist with the New England Aquarium in Boston, and founder of The Penguin Lady Educational Company, understands the difficulty of Kooyman's work and believes there is great potential for satellite imagery in scientific research. "Because penguins are an indicator species informing us of the status of the ecosystem they live in, gathering knowledge about their populations is an important key to understanding more about the health of our oceans and environment in general," said deNapoli. "The more data scientists can gather about the penguins' behavior patterns year-round, the better equipped they will be to understand and protect them."

Researchers such as Kooyman have discovered that satellite imagery is a cost-effective and efficient route in obtaining annual records on the penguin populations. For the last two years, satellite imagery has served as supporting material to the team's field research, and Kooyman expects imagery to help replace many field research excursions, which can be extremely time consuming and costly.

"It's all a work in progress, but the beauty of satellite imagery is that it is hard data and will be there forever," said Kooyman. "Years from now, we will be able to look back at the archived imagery and draw better conclusions about the birds and the changes in their natural environment from the research. What we do now is important and, like art, just gets more valuable over time."

Like Kooyman, decision makers in a variety of industries continue to discover the myriad practical applications for satellite imagery. These industries include search and rescue, telecommunications, agriculture and forestry, among others.

"DigitalGlobe's work with Kooyman and his penguin research exemplifies our continued interest in commercializing satellite imagery and encouraging other industries to utilize satellite imagery in their decision-making processes," said Marc Tremblay, General Manager of DigitalGlobe's Commercial Business Unit.

A video, produced by Discovery News reporter Kasey Dee-Gardner on how Dr. Kooyman is using the satellite imagery in his research, can be found online at

About DigitalGlobe

Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe ( is the clear leader in the global commercial Earth imagery and geospatial information market as well as the only company operating a constellation of sub-meter commercial imaging satellites. The company's technical superiority and innovation, unparalleled commitment to customer service, extensive business partner network and open systems philosophy make DigitalGlobe the preferred supplier of imagery products to government and commercial markets. DigitalGlobe is the only geospatial content provider to take an end-to-end approach to geospatial imagery, from acquiring proprietary high-resolution images through a leading-edge satellite and aerial network, to integrating and distributing that data through GlobeXplorer, a proprietary web-based search and retrieval system that makes it easy to find, purchase and download global imagery. DigitalGlobe currently operates the world's highest-resolution commercial satellite constellation with QuickBird and the first of two next-generation satellites, WorldView-1. The company plans to complete construction of its second next-generation satellite, WorldView-2 in late 2008. The company's updated and growing ImageLibrary contains more than three hundred million square kilometers of satellite and aerial imagery suited to countless applications for people who map, view, navigate and study the earth.

DigitalGlobe is a registered trademark of DigitalGlobe.

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