imagery Stories November 16, 2015

GOOG: 728.96

11.96

Google adds parts of Bolivia and Ecuador to Street View

Street View has been slowly getting more locations since it launched in 2007, and now the company has added many of parts of Bolivia and Ecuador to the list. These two South American countries are full of history and beautiful imagery, and now they can be explored from the comfort of your Chrome browser.

Google is even featuring some of the best imagery from Bolivia and Ecuador on its Street View site.

Just a couple of months ago, Google launched a standalone Street View app for Android and iPhone. Android users will find it on the Play Store, and iPhone users can download the standalone Street View app on the App Store. And if you’re interested in exploring Bolivia and Ecuador in VR, you might be interested in the fact that the Street View app recently added support for Google Cardboard.

imagery Stories December 11, 2014

Google Earth and Maps get new 3D imagery for San Francisco, New York City

Google has today updated the 3D imagery in both Google Earth and Google Maps, taking advantage of newer cameras to provide much better accuracy and a more realism in select United States cities. The newer imagery can be seen on the left in the image above, where it’s obvious that the San Francisco City Hall building’s contours and architecture now have much greater clarity.

Google says that the first two cities to get this treatment are the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, New York. But while these two cities are the first to see the update, they definitely won’t be the last. More cities will be getting the new imagery throughout 2015, according to Google.

To give you another look at the new imagery, here’s the new view of the Statue of Liberty (left is new, right is old):

As you can see below, there’s also new imagery that only recently became possible. The new 3D view includes the relatively new Six World Trade Center in New York, and there’s also new imagery of the Bay Bridge:

imagery Stories June 19, 2014

Google Maps adds Street View imagery for Greece

Google has done a lot of interesting Street View tours recently, which allow Google Maps users to explore streets, parks, historical locations, monuments, and even the inside of some buildings right from their desktop or mobile device. Today Google is adding its 56th country to Street View with the addition of Greece, a country with more than enough cultural and historical monuments to make for quite an incredible Street View experience to explore. As noted by Google, the introduction of Street View can also greatly improve the experience for tourists, businesses and others traveling through Greece:

From now on unique Greek landmarks, such as the Corfu Old Town, the White Tower in Thessaloniki and the Arch of Hadrian in the center of Athens, will be vividly represented on our computer screens… Many Greeks long have been keen for us to bring its benefits to their country, seeing Street View as a powerful tool for the promotion of a country. At a launch event in Athens, Andreas Andreadis, President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, said the new service will prove invaluable to tourists coming to Greece — and Greek businesses serving them. Visitors now will be able to check their hotel in advance and preview places they want to visit. Street View benefits everyone from the wheelchair user who can check whether a building has a ramp to the elderly who may check whether there are sufficient parking spots before leaving home. Minister of Culture and Sports Panos Panagiotopoulos welcomed Street View in Greece as nothing less than “a gift from God.”

You can check out some of the interesting locations Google captured in Greece in its own Views Gallery collection. 

imagery Stories March 13, 2014

Explore the Colorado River while you still can with Street View

Senior Vice President of Conservation at American Rivers Chris Williams announced today on the Google Maps blog that the organization has partnered with Google to add high-resolution imagery of the Colorado River running through the Grand Canyon to Street View:

For 6 million years, the Colorado River has flowed through the heart of the desert southwest, its waters slowly carving out a canyon so vast it can be seen from space—yet so remote it didn’t appear on early maps of the region. It wasn’t until 1869, when John Wesley Powell led a small exploration party on a rafting trip, that the natural wonders of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon came fully into view.

Start at an iconic spot like Deer Creek Falls or North Canyon, or climb up to the Nankoweap Granaries. Geology fans will enjoy formations like Hermit Shale and Tapeats Sandstone. On your journey, look out for wildlife like big horn sheep and signs of a volcanic dam that naturally occurred centuries ago.

The project was an important one, as Google noted in its blog post, the Colorado River has long been at risk:

While you admire its grandeur, remember that the river is also at risk. One of the United States’ most important resources, the Colorado River provides drinking water for 36 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, supports a $26 billion recreation industry, and irrigates nearly 4 million acres of land that grow 15 percent of our nation’s crops. But it’s also one of the most endangered, dammed, diverted and plumbed rivers in the world, thanks to a century of management policies and practices that have promoted the use of Colorado River water at an unsustainable rate. By the time it reaches the Gulf of California in Mexico, the river is barely a trickle—a ghost of its once magnificent self. You can see evidence of the river’s decline In Street View, like the high water mark (showing 1950s driftwood on top of the rock), or sedimentation along the river’s edge down by Lake Mead.

Google has a new collection of imagery from the Colorado River here and a new webpage taking you behind the scenes of the project here.

imagery Stories February 12, 2014

A behind the scenes look at building a Google Maps satellite

An interesting story from the BBC goes behind the scenes with the satellites that are used to take imagery of earth that eventually land in Google Maps and Google Earth.

Behind a long rectangular window, in a high white room tended by ghostly figures in masks and hats, a new satellite is taking shape. Once in orbit later this year, WorldView-3 will be one of the most powerful Earth observation satellites ever sent into space by a private company. Spinning around the planet some 600 kilometres (370 miles) above us, it will cover every part of the Earth’s surface every couple of days.

Google gets the majority of its imagery from DigitalGlobe and Ball Aerospace is currently constructing new satellites for the company, as highlighted in the BBC report. The new WorldView-3 satellite will be capable of capturing objects 25cm (10 inches) across, but the report notes Google and customers other than the government only get access to “images with a resolution of 50cm (20 inches).” It’s likely much of the updated imagery you see on Google Maps and Earth over the next year will come from the new satellite once in orbit. The whole article is worth a read if you’re interested in learning more about how the satellites are built and capture imagery once in space.

imagery Stories June 26, 2013

Google Maps and Earth get refreshed satellite imagery

Google is updating all of its mapping products today with brand new, cloud-free satellite imagery from space that it says “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.”

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. 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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