In May 2019, UP42 burst onto the geospatial scene. Born out of a collaboration between Airbus and BCG Digital Ventures, the newfound company had a clear purpose: to ease the pain of accessing satellite imagery.
Four years later, we’ve grown to 100+ people, and our platform has grown too. Along with satellite imagery, we’ve got aerial data, elevation data, algorithms, and more.
Instead, we're going to talk about the meaning of our company name because that's what we're usually asked when we say, "I work at UP42!"
The UP part of our name is the most obvious. To capture Earth’s surface through satellite imagery, you have to go up. And doing so is one of the best ways to tackle some of our biggest problems at the moment, such as tracking and measuring climate change.
The second part, the 42, refers to Douglas Adam’s seminal science fiction comedy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Originally a radio comedy broadcasted by the BBC, Adams then turned it into a series of best-selling books. Since then, it’s been adapted as a TV series, a video game, a comic series, and a movie.
While events and characters vary throughout the different versions, every adaptation includes a plot thread where a race of hyperintelligent beings create a computer named Deep Thought. Deep Thought’s purpose: to answer the ultimate question of “life, the universe, and everything.” After 7.5 million years of computing, Deep Thought announces that the answer is 42.
This, of course, made no sense. The problem, Deep Thought explains, was that its creators hadn’t really given it a question. So in order to understand the answer, they would first need to figure out the question.
Since then, 42’s been a popular number amongst science fiction fans. The question itself eventually gets figured out, but you’ll find no spoilers here. All you need to know is that 42 is the ultimate answer. So, taken together: go up and find the answer.
While you’re here, check out the video below. Thanks for reading, and here’s to many more years of going up.