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SBIR-STTR-Success: WorldWinds, Inc.
When Hurricane Irma slammed Puerto Rico in 2017, there was a news story that made national headlines: A commercial aircraft managed to fly off the island despite category 5 hurricane winds, carrying 173 passengers to safety. The flight utilized a technology developed by WorldWinds, with the help of the federal SBIR program.
The project with NOAA focused on developing new products for the TV broadcast market based on NOAA and NASA data. It evolved into the com-pany’s SpaceRadar, which uses satellite information to simulate a land-based radar. This proved to be a perfect solution for aircraft, since radar is not avail-able in the middle of oceans, and satellites provide the only option. Baron Weather Services distributes the data to support commercial aircraft opera-tions in the United States.
With a history of partnering with FEMA, WorldWinds has become synony-mous with providing the very best in remotely sensed weather data. Its post hurricane assessment model is set to debut this year, and it will help remedy the situation of long insurance claims. When Hurricane Katrina hit, people had to wait months for their money. Now, if somebody says, “I have three feet of water,” an adjuster can look on the map and confirm the damage, getting money in people’s hands faster.
A previous NASA SBIR project centered on high-resolution storm surge sim-ulations and wind effects. WorldWinds’ technology powers this map by run-ning storm surge simulations for historical and real-time hurricanes. The data is still being used today by government agencies, commercial businesses, and private homeowners.