Keyhole, Inc

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Keyhole, Inc.
Fate Acquired by Google
Successor Google
Founded 2001
Defunct 2004
Headquarters Mountain View, California, United States
Key people
John Hanke, CEO

Keyhole, Inc., founded in 2001, was a pioneering software development company specializing in geospatial data visualization applications and was acquired by Google in 2004 for $35 million.[1] Initially launched as a spin-off of Intrinsic Graphics, first round funding came from a Sony venture capital fund and others, additional capital came from an NVIDIA bundling deal, from the CIA's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel,[2] with the majority of In-Q-Tel' funds coming from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,[3] and from angel investor Brian McClendon[citation needed] (who later came on as a board member and VP). Keyhole's marquee application suite, Earth Viewer, emerged as the highly successful Google Earth application in 2005; other aspects of core technology survive in Google Maps, Google Mobile and the Keyhole Markup Language.

The name "Keyhole" is a homage to the KH reconnaissance satellites, the original eye-in-the-sky military reconnaissance system now some 50 years old.

Notable personnel[edit]

Near the time of its acquisition by Google, Keyhole's management team included the following people:

  • Brian McClendon, VP Engineering – previously with @Home, SGI.
  • John Hanke, CEO – previously worked for the United States Foreign Service in Washington DC, Myanmar & Indonesia.
  • Daniel Lederman, Director of Business Development – previously with Aerzone, Inc.
  • Dave Lorenzini, Director of Content; previously at Space Imaging/Geoeye.
  • Bill Kilday, Director of Marketing – previously at Weelhouse Interactive, Cox Interactive.
  • Noah Doyle, Strategic Marketing – cofounded MyPoints, a startup acquired by United Online.
  • Andria Ruben, Director of Government Affairs – previously at Intrinsic Graphics, GigaPixel, CompCore.
  • Lenette Posada Howard, Director Software Delivery – previously at Andersen Consulting (presently Accenture), InsWeb

The board also included:

  • Thomas Gewecke, Sony.
  • Michael T. Jones, CTO, Intrinsic Graphics.
  • Rob Painter, In-Q-Tel.

GSA President's Medal award[edit]

The Geological Society of America (GSA) Past President Jean Bahr awarded GSA's prestigious President's Medal for 2010 to the founders of Keyhole, Inc., developers of Earth Viewer, which evolved into Google Earth.

Keyhole Inc. founders include John Hanke, Chikai Ohazama, Mark Aubin, Phil Keslin, and Avi Bar-Zeev. Advisory founders include Brian McClendon, Michael Jones, Chris Tanner, and Rémi Arnaud.

Major product lines[edit]

  • At the time of its being rolled into Google Earth, Keyhole 2 consisted of 3 major branches: LT, NV, and Pro.
  • They also had EarthStream, a product for car navigation.

Keyhole got a big boost during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when Dave Lorenzini enticed CNN, ABC, CBS and other major news networks to use their sophisticated 3D flyby imagery to illustrate Baghdad Activities, in exchange for on-air attribution. "One of the problems (Keyhole) faced as a small company was getting exposure," said NVIDIA's Dan Vivoli. "This will certainly help."[4]

Notable customers[edit]

Keyhole boasted an active customer base in several sectors, including real estate, media, urban planning, state and federal governments, defense, homeland security, and intelligence agencies, but at the time of its acquisition its only named customers were US Army CECOM, the United States Department of Defense, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency and the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office.


  1. ^ "The Man Behind Pokémon Go: John Hanke, MBA 96". Berkeley Haas School of Business. 
  2. ^ "Meet The CIA's Venture Capitalist". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. 
  3. ^ "Oakland emails give another glimpse into the Google-Military-Surveillance Complex". PandoDaily. 
  4. ^ Kevin Manney (2003-03-21). "Tiny tech company awes viewers". USA Today. 

External links[edit]