'Live' Earth video camera on International Space Station

UrtheCast (pronounced “Earth-Cast”) is launching and installing two cameras on the Russian module of the International Space Station.

The UrtheCast team now says it will subsequently open up its API (application programming interface) so that software application developers can use its data to create applications for mobile devices like iPhone, iPad and Android.

One of the cameras generates a large amount of image data of the Earth, while the other is a high-resolution video camera providing video footage of Earth from space at high resolution.

Data collected by the cameras will be downlinked to ground stations around the planet and then displayed in near real-time on the UrtheCast web platform and also distributed directly to partners and customers.

A recent partnership agreement with the United Nations will see the team offer real-time information on dynamic situations such as floods and mass movements of people.

The UrtheCast web platform promises to provide a ‘YouTube’ like experience that shows videos tagged to geographic locations — it will have a Google Earth-like interface and the image data will be fresh and constantly being updated.

A real-time social layer is also being included to integrate with popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.