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A New Leading Indicator

As part of a growing trend among hedge funds and Wall Street firms, Cold War-style satellite surveillance is being used to gather market-moving information.

The surveillance pictures are often provided by private-sector companies like DigitalGlobe in Colorado and GeoEye in Virginia, which build and launch satellites and take pictures for US government intelligence agency clients and private-sector satellite analysis firms.

Looking for an edge, institutional investors such as UBS have begun to use satellite imagery to gauge customer traffic and economic activity, observing everything from parking lots and oil refineries to shipping terminals.

What kind of images used by investors? Click ahead to see some examples and how they are used!

By Eamon Javers
Posted 16 Aug 2010