US: At GEOINT conference in Tampa, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has hinted that laws limiting the pixel resolution of satellite images are being reviewed, and that officials at intelligence agencies are endorsing reduced restrictions. Lifting the ban would allow US companies to sell higher-resolution imagery than they currently are allowed.
DigitalGlobe last May put in a formal request to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to have the restrictions lifted. The licensing requirements petition by DigitalGlobe requested for a 25-centimeter resolution, which means one pixel in the satellite image must equal 25 centimeters or more on earth’s surface.
According to Letitia Long, director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the intelligence community approves of the new, 25-centimeter requirement, and that if given the green light at the executive-branch level, the transition from the current 50-centimeter rule could go straight to 25 centimeters, or it could happen in a tiered fashion – 40 centimeters next year, and so on.
“Satellites today have better resolution than [50 centimeters], but they can’t sell below that without a waiver, and they do sell that to some trusted agents. NOAA owns the licensing process and the White House will make the decision on the standard,” Long said during her presentation at the GEOINT conference.
Source: Federal Times