From Space to Story in Data Journalism

Robert Simmon, Nightingale:

The launch of Ikonos was one of a handful of developments that allowed newsrooms to expand from reporting on rocket launches and satellite hardware, to using remote sensing data as an essential tool to help tell stories. A wide variety of satellite data are now used to provide context to the news, to document events, and as a tool for investigation.

It still blows my mind that I — a nobody — can open Google Earth any time I want and see aerial photography with a level of detail that would have been classified not too long ago. Years of imagery are available, too, so if I want to see how an area has changed, it is just a few button clicks away. I appreciated Simmon’s look at how capabilities like these have allowed journalists at places like Bellingcat and Buzzfeed News to document events in ways that would not have been possible before widespread consumer satellite photography.