Technology giant Google is buying satellite imaging company Skybox Imaging for $500 million, the company announced Tuesday.
The deal would immediately provide Google with the means to improve the quality and immediacy of its satellite imagery used for the company’s digital maps, and could serve as a launching pad for the company to improve and increase Internet access around the world.
Google will initially begin using Skybox’s satellites already in orbit to supplement material used for the company’s digital maps. The company currently licenses material from more than 1,000 other sources for its maps.
Nearly two months ago, Google purchased drone maker Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed sum. The company has made nearly 250 acquisitions in the last decade, and has invested billions of dollars in experimental research involving driverless cars, Google Glass and robotics.
Skybox was founded five years ago and previously raised around $91 million in venture capital, focusing on cheaper satellites and better imaging. The deal still requires regulatory approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Federal Communications Commission.