Google Maps (and Earth) Update With Brand New Satellite Imagery, Clearer Skies

Google Maps (and Earth) Update With Brand New Satellite Imagery, Clearer Skies


Ever gone to search for a place of interest on Google Maps (or Google Earth) and had to contend with your view being obscured by over-head clouds? – Well, no more!

Google has this afternoon announced via its Official LatLong Blog that it is unveiling new satellite imagery for all of its mapping products, today.

“This stunning new imagery of the earth from space virtually eliminates clouds, includes refreshed imagery for regions of the world where high-resolution imagery is not yet available, and offers a more comprehensive and accurate view of the texture of our planet’s landscape,” reads the announcement.

Google explains that, in 2002, NASA released “Blue Marble” – a data-set described as being “a global image of the earth” with a resolution of ”one kilometer per pixel.” The data served by this service was based on data from NASA’s MODIS instrument, and was subsequently updated in 2005 with “twice the resolution.” This, it says, has remained the “canonical globally-uniform” picture of our blue planet for over a decade.

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Northwestern South America: Before and After

Today, that changes.

“With the Blue Marble as inspiration, we used Google Earth Engine technology to mine hundreds of terabytes of data from the USGS’s and NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite,” writes Matt Hancher, Tech Lead of the Google Earth Engine. “The result is a seamless, globally-consistent image of the entire planet with a resolution of 15 meters per pixel, far finer than is possible with MODIS data alone.”

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Agricultural expansion in Saudi Arabia: Before and After

“We prioritized recent data when it was available, so this update also includes refreshed imagery in many regions of the world, especially in areas where high-resolution imagery is not available, including parts of Russia, Indonesia, and central Africa,” Hancher continues.

The new map tiles are going live for both Google Maps and Google Earth, today. You can read the company’s full announcement on the new improvements at the Official LatLong Blog.

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