Sungevity, a solar energy firm involved in designing residential solar energy systems in three states wondered about all the valuable free data Microsoft and Google float out on the Internet. According to this USA Today article, using modern business intelligence, or BI the company is analyzing large sets of data to rev up business operations is as old as arithmetic.
"Sungevity, for example, relies on Bing Bird's-eye View images digital photos taken with a special high-resolution camera attached to airplanes hired by Microsoft to fly grid patterns above populated areas around the globe. Shot from 10,000 feet at a 45-degree angle, the images show depth and height of buildings relative to the ground.
"Sungevity created special software to calculate roof dimensions and orientation to the sun using Microsoft's photos, no ladders or tape measures needed.
"'We're leveraging this technology to protect people from falls and make it easier to scale up the solar energy industry sensibly,' Kennedy says."