Maritime securityGeoEye's technology monitors endangered gorilla population

Published 16 November 2007

Specialist in satellite, aerial, and geospatial information donates high-duality maps of Africa’s Virunga National Park to help in mapping mountain gorilla habitat

Spill-over: During the cold war, they used this term to describe the phenomenon of technologies developed for military purposes finding applications in civilian markets. Here is a case of current-day spill over: Dulles, Virginia-based GeoEye (NASDAQ: GEOY) is a specialist in satellite, aerial, and geospatial information. People who use its products are typically worried about national security or infrastructure assets. The company’s technology has other uses, too. The company has recently announced that the GeoEye Foundation has donated more than 1,000 square kilometers of high-resolution, IKONOS satellite imagery to international conservation groups to aid in gorilla preservation efforts. The recent massacre of a family of mountain gorillas in Africa’s Virunga National Park focused attention attention to the area, the home of 60 percent of the world’s gorilla population.

Houston-based Satellite Imaging Corp. (SIC) approached the foundation and applied for the grant on behalf of conservation groups involved in the effort to protect Virunga’s dwindling gorilla population. Leo Romeijn, president and owner of SIC said, “Once my team heard about the conservation group’s need for updated maps, we approached GeoEye’s foundation and were awarded the grant within two days. We immediately set out to create nine high-quality images that span six years. We believe the combined images will allow conservation groups to become more familiar with the more than 300-square-mile habitat.” Mark Brender, GeoEye’s vice president of corporate communications and marketing, said: “GeoEye and our partners strive to be good stewards of wildlife and the environment. One of the reasons we formed the GeoEye Foundation was to advance humanitarian and environmental research studies. The more than 300 million square kilometers of map-accurate imagery already in our archive provides both coverage and historical perspective that can be of great value to such initiatives.”

Conservation groups involved in the project to save the gorillas include the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the Central African Regional Program for the Environment, International Gorilla Conservation Program, Zoological Society of London, and the African Conservation Fund.