Google Earth Gets Image Quality Hike

PaulRubens on Tuesday June 28, 2016 at 06:02:02 AM

Google Earth Gets Image Quality Hike

New satellite data in the latest version of Google Earth provides sharper images of the world's entire surface.

(CCM) — Google Earth has received a huge quality boost thanks to the integration of new, high-resolution satellite imagery. The latest version of Google Earth, which the company unveiled yesterday, features the most recent aerial picture data collected by the Landsat 8 satellite, which was launched in 2013. The previous version of Google Earth used lower quality imagery collected by the much older Landsat 7 satellite. Landsat 8 captures image data with greater detail, truer colors, and at twice the rate of the previous one, according to Google. Combined with new data processing techniques, this has resulted in sharper images than ever before. To create the photographic mosaic of the world's surface, Google trawled through almost one million gigabytes of data — or over 700 trillion individual pixels — to find pixels that were not obscured by clouds. These were then stitched together to create a single, completely cloud-free image.

Landsat 8 is run by the United States Geological Survey and NASA, and the data it collects is freely available. Other uses of its data include tracking global tree cover loss and gain, predicting malaria outbreaks, and mapping global surface water.

Photo: © Mygate - Shutterstock.com


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