BCG X Up24

Unlocking Access to Geospatial Data with Machine Learning and AI

How BCG brought BCG X to Airbus to develop an open marketplace for satellite imagery and processing algorithms

Geospatial data helps uncover insights from all corners of the globe, but it’s difficult to obtain. UP42 combines multiple sources of high-quality satellite imagery, geospatial data, and analytics on a single scalable platform to help organizations of all sizes harness the power of these insights.

The business-building function of BCG X (then known as BCG Digital Ventures) recognized that, in order to boost geospatial development and commercialization, Airbus’s proposed venture would need to anticipate future trends. UP42 was structured to provide self-service API access instead of direct customer relations. Rather than selling pixels, it would sell insights. The idea was to bypass offline operations to exploit the cloud and forgo closed ecosystems in favor of an open marketplace.

UP42 is an open developer platform that makes it possible to build, run, and scale geospatial projects in one place. It brings together high-resolution satellite and drone imagery, IoT data, and the algorithms needed to work with all that data. It serves as a marketplace for geospatial AI, data, and processing algorithms. Developers and data scientists—from small startups to the analytics departments of big corporations across industries—can use the platform to gain valuable insights that lead to more revenue and profits.

UP42’s 55+ data blocks and 75+ algorithms that support AI and machine learning helped it achieve 100%+ year-on-year revenue growth. The platform’s data sources and algorithms come from some of the world’s leading providers of geospatial AI, data, and algorithms.

Our Role

In January 2019, BCG’s business-building AI, DevOps, and industrial goods experts partnered with Airbus to turn its strategy of catering to the long tail of the geospatial-data market into a new business. BCG X ran an eight-week sprint to validate and define the concept. This included intensive work with two cocreation partners to define the initial concept and to focus on the basics of platform development. The further buildout of the core platform and functionality—and the onboarding of five to ten additional cocreation partners—took place in March 2019. Additional data and processing blocks were added in preparation for the platform’s launch, and a new company was founded in Berlin, with the first employees and a leadership team. Finally, the move from cocreation to a self-service mode led to the public launch of the platform, enabling developers to build solutions on their own from May 2019 onward.

Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence
DevOps at Scale

Beth Viner, X. Ventures

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AI/ML processing algorithms



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