GeoEye Signs Deal With Google

By Frank Ahrens

GeoEye said today that it has signed an exclusive contract to provide photos from its newest satellite to Google Maps.

The Boeing Delta II rocket

The Dulles-based satellite imaging company's existing satellites provide images to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, but the new bird, GeoEye-1, will have Google as its only online-search mapping customer. GeoEye-1 has the highest resolution of any GeoEye satellite, the company said.

"We're increasing our mapping data internationally and that's where our relationship with GeoEye and others helps us," said John Hanke, director of geo products for Google.

As a thank you to the search giant for being a good customer, GeoEye affixed the Google logo to the side of the Boeing Delta II rocket currently being fueled at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, readying to launch the $500 million GeoEye-1 into orbit at 11:50 a.m. Pacific time Thursday.

Neither company would release the terms of the contract, but GeoEye said the new revenue will be reported as "not material" on the company's SEC filings, meaning it will amount to less than 15 percent of total revenue.

The launch of GeoEye-1 has been delayed twice. And earlier this month, the company said it would restate its accounting from 2005 to 2007. Now, GeoEye chief executive Matthew O'Connell said he is looking toward next week's launch as the "cure" to recent ails.

"A week from now, we'll feel a lot better about the world," O'Connell said in an interview today.

By Terri Rupar  |  August 28, 2008; 4:38 PM ET  | Category:  Aerospace & Defense
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