Google Maps and Google Earth get sharper satellite imagery

“When Google Earth was first released, it was life-changing,” Brian Fagioli reports for BetaNews. “While people take it for granted now, seeing aerial views of the entire planet — including something as mundane as your neighbor’s roof — was something many folks never thought possible. This satellite imagery is now used in other mapping solutions, such as the ubiquitous Google Maps, giving us the ability to see the world from the comfort of our homes.”

“Today, the search giant announces that its imagery has been improved,” Fagioli reports. “‘Landsat 8, which launched into orbit in 2013, is the newest sensor in the USGS/NASA Landsat Program — superior to its predecessors in many ways. Landsat 8 captures images with greater detail, truer colors, and at an unprecedented frequency — capturing twice as many images as Landsat 7 does every day. This new rendition of Earth uses the most recent data available — mostly from Landsat 8 — making it our freshest global mosaic to date,’ says Chris Herwig, Program Manager, Google Earth Engine.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We vaguely remember when we used to like Google. You know, before they stooped to blatant theft.

Steve Jobs: ‘I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product; I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this’ – October 20, 2011
Apple to ITC: Android started at Apple while Andy Rubin worked for us – September 2, 2011


    1. Apple Maps shows a military base where I used to serve with the wrong main gate ( closed for a couple of years ) and the new main gate ( in use for years ) as an early construction site.
      All it means is Apple and Google buy imaging from different suppliers that update at different cycles.

      Only Apple Maps has tried to direct people to a business at the bottom of the ocean. Must be wrong unless it is the Sponge Bob Bar & Grill.

  1. There’s no change here. The Google satellite imagery still shows long gone features from prior to 2013, so they clearly are not using imagery from Landsat 8 where I live.

    Talking of satellite images. Does anybody know how to turn off the blue circle around my home location on Apple Maps? I don’t see an option for doing that and I’ve also tried turning off my iPhones and iPads, but the ring persists. I wanted to use satellite imagery to support a planning application and was disappointed to find that the clear imagery from Apple Maps could not be used because of that blue ring. As it happens, the resolution is similar to that of Google maps, but because the images were taken at different times, the more favourable lighting on Apple Maps offers a much clearer image.

  2. When Google Earth was first released, it was life-changing

    NO. When EarthViewer 3D, created by Keyhole, Inc, was first released, it was life changing. I have a copy. Google noticed and BOUGHT the company. History.

    What else has Google BOUGHT?
    – Android
    – YouTube
    – Motorola Mobility (oops)
    – Boston Dynamics (oops)
    – VirusTotal
    – Picasa
    – Nest Labs
    . . .

    Here’s a list of 192 (so far):

      1. Yeah tech companies buy smaller outfits to build products or for specific technologies.

        Nothing new and few things are fully built from the ground up in a single room.

  3. There’s a round-about near my house that is at least 4 years old. It showed up on Apple Maps within a month or two after it was finished. It showed up on Google Maps just recently…
    also checked my house and Google Maps still shows bare spots in my yard where I had a couple of trees taken down 2 years ago…


    Landsat 8 is better than Landsat 7. However, full color (when merging multiple color bands) for Landsat 8 is 15 m per pixel. You read that right. That’s 15 m on a side (225 square meters) for each full color pixel of imagery merged across multiple color bands to give a full RGB image. No one in the geospatial imaging world considers that high resolution imagery. (Hell, 15 years ago 15 m resolution imagery was not considered high resolution!)

    Google for quite a while has relied on aircraft of one form or another for their highest resolution imagery. There’s even talk of them buy imagery from DigitalGlobe with as good as 0.31 meter imagery, but it seems little, if any, of that imagery has shown up in Google’s mapping apps. (DigitalGlobe’s fleet of satellites give many different resolutions. The 0.31 m variant is currently their best.)

    To claim that going to Landsat 8 makes their best resolution imagery even better is a TOTAL LIE. It just is. But, what would you expect from Google (Alphabet)?

    And what of their acquisition of Skybox Imaging for $500 million with another $500 million needed to complete the constellation? (Now re-branded as TerraBella and given a nearly pure marketing twist leaving the technology way behind.) Is Google not getting anything useful out of the two satellites that are up there? Does Google not expect to get anything useful out of them?

    1. Actually, a Canadian university created some innovative algorithms used by Google, NASA and others across 5 continents, for some years now. The technique fuses the high-resolution black and white image (which is small in size), and a colour image at very low-resolution (all small in size). This yields a high-resolution, full-colour image that was transmitted quickly from the satellite and fused to create amazing detail in colour.

  5. I think I may be done with Apple maps. After years and years of asking them to correct the village (city) name associated with my dwelling. It currently shows the name of a village that is 15 miles away. Ironically, if you zoom out it shows the correct name on the map (right under my house, as I live in the center of the village. But, the address associated with my house is the village 15 miles away. I have written repeatedly to Apple using their mechanism to report errors – it has never changed. A search for my address will yield the right street address and postal code, with the wrong village name. Google maps fixed this error before Apple Maps was ever introduced. I guess, if you don’t live in a major city, such accuracy doesn’t matter to Apple. Certainly, it seems multiple communications to fix it don’t matter. HELLO, is anyone listening at Apple?

    I am not an Apple troll – I have used and promoted Apple since 1994. But, I think I am done with Apple craps (sorry, “maps”) until they can make a simple correction. It will only take a few minutes people.

    1. I have personally submitted updates to Apple Maps from San Francisco and Sacramento and seen them updated within a couple of weeks. It sounds like this one was actually fixed in one view, but not in related zoomed views.

  6. I remember when I was a kid going to the museum and being in awe of a huge aerial map of the city. Then when Google Earth came out, not only could you do that at home, but you could look into any city in the world!

  7. Google Maps is clearly using higher resolution satellite photos than the last time I checked a few weeks ago.

    However at my home the image is no newer than 6-8 months and the Apple Maps image is older than that. This is a somewhat rural area about 30 miles north of Phoenix, AZ.

    At a vacation spot in a midwestern urban/suburban area we visit every summer, a major highway reconstruction project is visible in GM, but doesn’t show up at all in AM. Google map images are clearly newer than Apple Map’s, but may still be up to 21 months old.

    So… it’s still a YMMV situation. As always.

    I’m still waiting for multi-location routing.

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