A growing number of authorities around the world may be banning selfies – most recently the Japanese city of Kyoto put the kibosh on the taking of photos in its geisha neighbourhood – but one company is hoping to cash in on people’s desire to capture memorable moments, by introducing “the world’s longest selfie stick”, in the form of an app that takes photos from space.
Spelfie.com allows users to take a selfie at the exact time that a satellite camera captures their location from space. Users of the app click on the event they are attending, then, once they are at the venue, the app provides coordinates so the user knows precisely where to position themselves and at what time. They then take a photo of themselves at the moment the satellite is taking its photo and later the same day the app sends back the satellite image juxtaposed with the selfie to be viewed in its gallery. Spelfie spokesman Anthony Burr said that in future the images will be available within a matter of minutes rather than hours.
The tool, which uses Airbus satellites, was demonstrated as part of a BBC documentary about an environmental campaigner in Bali that aired on 18 November. It showed a village of people spelling out the words Act Now on a beach, with the image captured on camera from space. The Glasgow-based company is working with tourist boards including that of the Seychelles that are keen to use the technology to promote their pristine landscapes and marine environments, but Spelfie.com is primarily aimed at people attending major sports and cultural events. It was tested at this year’s Glastonbury festival.
In its second phase of development, the app will extend beyond specific events and allow users to be give a specific location anywhere in the world, and be alerted if the satellite is going to pass overhead. “You might be in the Grand Canyon, for example, and the app will tell you whether the satellite is set to pass over.” But, even this advanced technology won’t be able to take a space-to-earth photo in thick cloud.