UrtheCast wants to provide the world’s first high-definition streaming video service for viewing the planet from outer space by installing two cameras on the bottom of the International Space Station.
The concept is similar to Google Earth except that instead of a patchwork of still images, UrtheCast will be an ongoing Live feed of whatever is going on wherever on Earth the International Space Station happens to be floating above, viewable, at any hour of any day.
This ‘Global Show’ will be interactive, allowing viewers to rewind, pause, and tag specific frames or events captured by the cameras which, amazingly, will provide a color image 40 km wide with a maximum zoom resolution down to 1.1 meters. The pair of cameras are being constructed by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Earlier this year UrtheCast and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) announced a partnership in order to monitor continuing global humanitarian efforts such as the conflict in Darfur and the ongoing analysis of Haiti’s recovery following the earthquake. Scott Larson, UrtheCast President, was quoted in a July 2012 press release to have said:
UrtheCast is very pleased to be working with UNITAR to help improve humanitarian services.This is an important agreement for our team; humanitarian relief monitoring lies at the heart of what UrtheCast envisions for its future. We anticipate that video imaging from space will become a critical component of a new best practices model for monitoring humanitarian relief, tracking human development, and detailing peace-keeping missions. If a relationship with the UN is any indication, formidable agencies are now recognizing the value of video imagery of Earth.
Check out the video below for a brief introduction to the UrtheCast platform, expected to go live in 2013: