Azara Blog: Google satellite maps

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Date published: 2005/04/17

The BBC says:

Photographs of North America's most significant landmarks and locations, including the Grand Canyon, Alcatraz and Mount Rushmore are being given a fresh perspective thanks to a tool by Google.

The search engine giant now provides satellite photographs of many locations in the US and Canada.
The satellite maps are provided by digital map maker Keyhole Corporation, which was bought by Google last year.

At the moment Google only offers satellite images of locations in the US but Keyhole has data for the whole globe so the service could be rolled out for other countries.

While satellite images have been commercially available for some time, the cost has put the photos out of reach of most individuals.

Satellite imaging firm EarthSat sells photos which can cost about $22 (£14) per square kilometre with a minimum purchase of 25 square kilometres.

The detail in some of the Google photos is impressive - putting zoom at the highest level lets you pick out individual houses and even cars.

Almost any address has a satellite photo version but Keyhole has tried to calm privacy fears by pointing out that the photos are at least six months old.

Google is of course the greatest invention of the information age. Their satellite maps are definitely impressive, down to a few meter resolution, and (with a decent internet connection) you can pan amazingly smoothly (clever software, eh). The only worrying thing is that if this is what you can get for free on the internet, imagine what the spy agencies can do. They can probably tell what newspaper and what article you are reading in your garden. Fortunately, with six billion people around, they can only spy on a few thousand people at a time.

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