Christopher Mims, writing at his new gig at the Wall Street Journal:
Skybox can determine how much oil is being pumped out of the ground in Saudi Arabia by imaging oil-storage tanks from above. The company can peg the likely price of grain months in advance by measuring the health of every square yard of cropland on Earth. One city has used Skybox’s data to determine who built illegal backyard pools and mightalso use it to identify water-restriction violators during a drought.
It’s competitive intelligence as spy craft. And it’s compelling enough that a Skybox employee once told a reporter for Wired that the company might someday simply become an unreasonably profitable hedge fund.