Co-creating Geospatial Economy in a Digital World

Press Release

WGIC extends appreciation to new U.S. Commerce rules on commercial remote sensing satellites

June 9, 2020

The World Geospatial Industry Council believes that the new rules by the United States Department of Commerce will benefit the global geospatial ecosystem dependent on the U.S. private remote sensing space systems.

9 June 2020, The Netherlands – Through an official letter sent to the United States Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Wilbur Ross, the World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC), has extended its appreciation to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Streamlined Rules on Commercial Remote Sensing Satellites.

In the letter, the WGIC has identified several components of the recent action, which are of great benefit to the geospatial community. The revised ruling will improve upon a situation that has put U.S. companies at a global disadvantage up until now; it has been unduly bureaucratic and time-consuming, and it did not recognize the speed at which technological advancements occur.  The new rule now allows U.S. operators to sell imagery in countries not previously allowed. Furthermore, the Department of Commerce created a more streamlined application process. In this, Commerce recognizes the fact that not all missions require the same level of interagency review. Lastly, Commerce adopted time-limited technology controls. In doing so, it rightly recognizes the rate at which technological advancements occur, particularly so in the world of rapidly evolving spatial and spectral resolutions.

Timely reforms
Welcoming space reforms announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Sanjay Kumar, Chief Executive of WGIC, said: “I compliment the leadership of Secretary Ross and his team for very timely reforms in the space sector. These reforms will lay the foundation for a next-generation space economy and its underpinning role in shaping the 4th Industrial Era. These latest provisions focus on streamlining regulations for commercial remote sensing satellites, and they encourage the participation of the commercial sector across the entire value chain of the space economy. These reforms actively embrace commercial companies as partners in national space missions transparently and openly. WGIC members feel excited and enthused and look forward to work together to grow Earth observation and geospatial markets worldwide.”

Reflecting the change in the industry
As per the information released via FederalRegister.Gov, “The Department of Commerce (Commerce), through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), licenses the operation of private remote sensing space systems under the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992. NOAA’s existing regulations implementing the Act were last updated in 2006. Commerce is now substantially revising those regulations, as described in detail below, to reflect significant changes in the space-based remote sensing industry since that time and to modernize its regulatory approach.”

About WGIC:

The World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC) is a registered not-for-profit trade association of commercial geospatial companies representing the entire value-chain of the geospatial ecosystem. WGIC represents business interest, shares perspectives of the geospatial industry, and undertakes policy advocacy and dialogue with public authorities, multilateral agencies, and other relevant bodies. For more information about WGIC, please visit: https://wgicouncil.org/

For further information, please contact:  Harsha Madiraju


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