Case study – DigitalGlobe Sees the World with NVIDIA CUDA

 Satellite imagery is ubiquitous, providing a rich and intuitive context to our Web-based, desktop, and mobile environments in map, real estate, personal navigation, and other applications including Google Maps and Google Earth.

This data has profound impacts on our lives – from monitoring agricultural crops and managing the risks of wildfires to planning hurricane evacuation routes and rescue efforts after natural disasters.

Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe provides the most accurate, high-resolution custom imagery commercially available, in a wide variety of image formats. With gigabytes of data constantly streamed to earth from their satellites, DigitalGlobe uses sophisticated image re-sampling and interpolation algorithms to provide customers with custom imagery analysis. This data- and compute-intensive process traditionally required multiple passes through DigitalGlobe’s CPU-based cluster, slowing customer deliveries.

 DigitalGlobe re-architected its image processing software for the NVIDIAr CUDAT parallel processing architecture so that all pixel manipulation can now be done on a power-efficient NVIDIA Teslar S1070 GPU cluster. This enables mass customization of data for much faster image processing. The Tesla GPU-based cluster will deliver more than 110x the compute power of the CPU-based cluster, literally saving weeks of processing time while consuming much lower power.

 "By using just one Tesla S1070 GPU 1U system we were able to complete nearly a month’s worth of image processing for a product line in a single night," says Stuart Schwartz, product manager at DigitalGlobe. "With the compute capabilities of the GPU, we are experiencing a much higher performance result at a lower cost and power requirement. It also opens up opportunities for us to experiment with new image processing algorithms that were too expensive to run on a CPU-based cluster."

 Now DigitalGlobe customers are able to obtain customized satellite imagery much more quickly. Many aspects of our daily lives will reap the benefits, from city expansion projects to disaster relief efforts.  

For more information on the NVIDIA Tesla and CUDA, visit:

Editor (18230 Posts)

Glenn is a geographer and a GIS professional with over 20 years experience in the industry. He's the co-founder of GISuser and several other technology web publications.

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