Nature Conservancy Uses QuickBird Imagery for Ecosystem Mapping

DigitalGlobe Products Support Mission to Map and Understand Biodiversity

Longmont, Colo., December 8, 2004 ­– DigitalGlobe®  announced that the Nature Conservancy is using DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird satellite imagery to assess biological diversity and conservation progress in several regions throughout the U.S. and worldwide. The Nature Conservancy leverages satellite imagery and geospatial technologies to better understand, monitor, and predict natural and human systems.

The Nature Conservancy has developed a rigorous science-based approach to conserve plants, animals and ecological systems within a diverse portfolio of conservation areas. First, within each project area, the biodiversity is evaluated and a set of target species or ecosystems is identified. For each of these targets, an ecological model is developed to understand how the species or ecosystem functions and which processes and resources are needed to maintain or enhance its quality. Sources of stress and threats to the targets, such as habitat destruction, invasive species or water pollution, are determined. Then, strategies are formulated to address those threats. Finally, the impact of those strategies is monitored over time, and the process is repeated in an “adaptive management” framework.

Satellite imagery and geographic information systems (GIS) have proven to be critical tools that the Conservancy employs at every stage of this iterative process.

“The Nature Conservancy works with many different types of ecosystems and species that are threatened by various activities. We are trying to find cost effective ways of inventorying and monitoring landscapes worldwide,” said Frank Biasi, director of Conservation Systems for the Nature Conservancy. “High-resolution commercial satellite imagery holds great promise for helping the Nature Conservancy define and achieve its goals and measure its results,” he added.

Biasi cites several advantages of using QuickBird imagery for creating the detailed maps his program requires. “With satellite technology, we can acquire consistent imagery over large areas, and we don’t have to mosaic the pieces together as we would with aerial imagery. This allows us to efficiently map large landscapes and ecosystems at a level of detail that is meaningful to local communities and conservation managers,” he said. 

According to Biasi, the QuickBird satellite’s ability to fly over remote locations not accessible by airplane is very attractive. Biasi also says the repeatability and consistency of multiple image collections, in addition to DigitalGlobe’s large and growing archive, will allow the Nature Conservancy to effectively measure change and track progress over time. The high-resolution of QuickBird images, he says, will be key for distinguishing between plant and vegetation species.

“DigitalGlobe is extremely pleased to support the Nature Conservancy’s projects with QuickBird imagery products,” said Herb Satterlee, DigitalGlobe’s CEO and chairman. “By providing the high-quality service and products the Nature Conservancy requires, we support the organization’s mission to map and understand biodiversity.”

“We look forward to helping bring DigitalGlobe and the Nature Conservancy together into a long-term collaborative relationship in support of ecosystem mapping,” said Jeff Campbell, president of Spatial Solutions, Inc. (Bend, OR), the DigitalGlobe business partner that provided QuickBird imagery to the Nature Conservancy.

About The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, non-profit organization that preserves plants, animals and natural communities representing the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 14 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 83 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. The Conservancy has 400 offices in 29 countries worldwide. For more information about The Nature Conservancy visit its website at

About Spatial Solutions, Inc.
Spatial Solutions provides comprehensive natural and cultural resource management solutions utilizing geo-spatial information such as digital and analog remote sensing imagery, new and existing GIS data layers, and/or ground-based information.  For more information visit

About DigitalGlobe
DigitalGlobe is the clear leader in the global commercial Earth imagery and geospatial information market. 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 satellite and aerial imagery and value-added products. In 2001, DigitalGlobe launched what remains the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite today, QuickBird. The company will launch its next-generation WorldView system no later than 2006. QuickBird has collected and stored in its ImageLibrary hundreds of thousands of Earth image scenes covering over a hundred million square kilometers, and collects an additional one million square kilometers each week. These new and historical images are essential for customers who map and plan for change in our world. DigitalGlobe is based in Longmont, Colo., USA. For more information visit