Uber and satellite imaging company DigitalGlobe — which provides high-resolution aerial imagery to companies like Apple and Google — have agreed to a partnership that will give Uber the ability to use satellite images for its mapping ambitions.
In a blog post announcing the deal, DigitalGlobe said its imagery would help "improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," and that Uber would be using DigitalGlobe’s technology to "identify and improve pick-up and drop-off locations," rather than displaying maps to users of the Uber app.
Uber has been building up its mapping division for a while, as high-definition maps are key to its self-driving car project. A number of engineers poached from both Google and Carnegie Mellon University are working on Uber’s mapping efforts, including Brian McClendon, the former head of Google Maps who is now in charge of Uber maps.
Uber had no comment when contacted by The Verge, other than to point to the DigitalGlobe blog post announcing the partnership. Financial terms and the exact length of the deal were not disclosed.