Today we’re excited to announce that DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has selected Descartes Labs to participate in its Geospatial Cloud Analytics (GCA) program. As part of the platform selection phase of GCA, Descartes Labs has been awarded a $2.9M project with a phase 2 award option of $4.2M—for a total of $7.2M.

The purpose of this program, as described by DARPA, is to provide “instant access to the most up-to-date images anywhere in the world, as well as the cutting-edge tools to analyze them.” Under the GCA program, teams selected by DARPA will use the Descartes Labs Platform to build global-scale applications and offer them in the marketplace as a commercial service for data scientists. The Descartes Labs Platform features a cloud-native infrastructure designed to provide the storage, computing, access, and tools needed to analyze massive, complex geospatial datasets, making it an ideal foundation for this DARPA program.

One of the cornerstones of the GCA program is to take advantage of the rapid increase of geospatial data from commercial sources and make it available on a platform. With access to a repository of automatically-curated, multimodal satellite data with frequent revisit rates, DARPA will let data scientists focus on analysis, rather than gathering, curating, and preparing data from disparate sources. GCA intends to leverage this data repository into an analysis-as-a-service marketplace to deliver models for making intelligent applications that will serve many complex interests.

The GCA marketplace will address several specific analysis objectives, including: food security (strategic analytics), fracking (operational analytics), and maritime change detection / illegal fishing (tactical analytics). To support these objectives, and pave the way for the development of additional applications, Descartes Labs will integrate up to 75 new datasets sourced from members of a diverse data partner network.

Our vision of the future aligns well with the goals DARPA has for this program. Data scientists will be able to harness the proliferation of sensor data and design and run more calculations than ever before, creating new opportunities to understand our world. New applications will be made available to speed science along and find, and predict, answers faster. We are building a virtual data refinery that will power this marketplace, to give analysts the tools and computational horsepower for doing global science at scale right at their fingertips.

Welcome to the future.

If you would like to participate in this new marketplace, or are a government entity interested in learning more about what this new innovation can do for you, contact us at

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