Descartes Labs CTO Speaks At Rotary Meeting

Descartes Labs CTO Steven Brumby presents a talk on his company at Tuesday’s Rotary meeting at the Golf Course Community Building. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Descartes Labs CTO Steven Brumby explains at Tuesday’s Rotary meeting that his company is teaching computers to see the world. Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Rotary appears to have influenced the life of Descartes Labs, Inc. co-founder and CTO Steven Brumby.

He explained during Tuesday’s weekly Rotary Club of Los Alamos meeting that 26 years ago he attended a physics and astronomy program at the National Science Summer School in Canberra, Australia and Rotary sponsored the program.

Since that time, Brumby traveled to Los Alamos to take part in the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) post-doctorate program in space and remote sensing sciences before co-founding Descartes Labs.

Descartes Labs CTO Steven Brumby. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

While at LANL, Brumby said he discovered that the computer technology he was developing had a major commercial value. As a result, he founded Descartes Labs with co-founder and CEO Mark Johnson. Networking was done in California to gather investors for the company but ultimately Descartes Labs set up shop at 1350 Central Ave. Ste. 204, next to the Bradbury Science Museum in downtown Los Alamos.

What the company does, Brumby explained, is take pictures from satellites in space and from these images, maps are created “that allow people to make decisions.” For instance, Brumby said a satellite image of farmland in Iowa can be used to track crops or an image of California can be used to study urban growth.

Brumby added his company can provide images in real time, “as soon as the satellite images are available.”

By collaborating with Google, Descartes Lab has access to Google Cloud to hold its images. While Los Alamos may be far from Silicon Valley or other major hubs for entrepreneurs, Brumby said he believes Los Alamos could be the next big place for startup businesses. For one, it is much more affordable.