Bing and Google maps will soon have higher resolution images

If you have used Bing or Google maps, you will know that the satellite view feature is quite impressive. Nearly any where in the world, you can zoom down to the street level and see the entire planet with a few mouse clicks. And thanks to the US government relaxing rules that limited the resolution of theses images, the mapping services will soon be even more impressive.

How will all of this happen? Thanks to a new satellite, called the Worldview-3, that will launch in the coming days; the cameras onboard the device can take sub 50cm resolution. What this means is that you will be able to see manhole covers and mailboxes with Google or Bing maps.

The satellite is owned by DigitalGlobe and both Google and Bing are customers of the company. The cameras will be operating around 383 miles above earth and considering how detailed the images will be, you do have to wonder about privacy. Considering that the street level mapping services do block out faces, should these high definition satellite images be held to the same standard?

DigitalGlobe will start selling these images to the public after six months, before that, they are likely limited for use by government agencies for intelligence purposes. 

Source: Gizmodo

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29 Comments

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I have no problem with this or problem with my privacy, those of you that have a facebook (I do not have one) have no room to argue about privacy of anything! I love the idea of having higher resolution shots of area's and can't wait too get some feeds where I hunt at. Just wish you could request coordinates at various times rather than depend on when they take them or not.

Shiranui said,
Aren't most of the images for big cities aerial images taken from planes anyway?

In the US maybe, but good luck with Russia.

calimike said,
More zoom in on Area 51

Yeah can't wait to zoom in on UFOs that are left parked up out side.

joking aside, they should put massive circular boxes and suchlike on the runway it would be funny.

I'm not a tin hat guy but I can see how things can go wrong.

My partner was followed by the Google van (we know because it has one-off distinctive decor down the side) we happen to find it by accident a couple years later on Street view. They followed her into another Street and passed her when she pulled up outside somebody's house. As it happens it was our daughter's friend but it could have been different.

For all the saying about real-time or anybody thinking about it the satellite would have to be in Geo stationary orbit I think that's what it's called when it's above a fixed point. It is unrealistic to move satellites around because that would require energy, fuel and suchlike.

It would be possible but unlikely considering CCTV is a lot closer and cheaper.

With that said I didn't believe time travel was possible until I suddenly arrived back in 2014.

Without knowing precisely what sub 50cm means (is it 1 cm, 49cm?), one can assume that no faces will be recognizable. Resolution of 50cm (about 19.5 inches) will make a face one pixel. So, you can feel free to know that nobody will recognize your license plates or see your face on satellite view, unless your face is a square box of a single color.

seeprime said,
Without knowing precisely what sub 50cm means (is it 1 cm, 49cm?), one can assume that no faces will be recognizable. Resolution of 50cm (about 19.5 inches) will make a face one pixel. So, you can feel free to know that nobody will recognize your license plates or see your face on satellite view, unless your face is a square box of a single color.

Google will automatically (or manually when they are notified of a mistake) blur out faces and license plates in Street View. I doubt it will be different in the regular maps interface. Sadly this will only be available only for western countries. My neighbourhood has been the same resolution for at least six years.

I am sure you wouldn't be able to recognize faces if you can only make out objects the size of manhole covers, and besides the photos are taken from orbit so you would only be able to see the top of people's head anyway.

The funny thing is that, they are already able to do all this stuff but the public service did just get the permission to use this data

"will soon have higher resolution images" - I don't think I'll see any on either google or bing for at least another year -

I would say unlikely, unless your car is a transformer and the license plate ends up as a hat, you park horizontally or you go up extremely steep hill virtually 90°.

There is already live, publicly viewable flights. You can watch any plane based on its GPS system currently in the sky, they even pull live view data from Google maps so you can pretend your flying it. Watching it with a satellite would rely on the same systems to function as the current technology.

I truly think they will launch a live stream video 24/7 satellite in the very near future and no plane can be disappear mystery out of the blue and unable to find it. In fact, maps might no longer static and every object will be moving and feel dynamic in real time such as tracking traffic condition by watching it live as you were there. This is the future of maps which completely feel like 22 century technology.

Wouldn't it take a ridiculous amount of geostationary satellites to get blanket coverage of the entire earth? It would be like the movie Wall-E.

Master of Earth said,
I truly think they will launch a live stream video 24/7 satellite in the very near future and no plane can be disappear mystery out of the blue and unable to find it. In fact, maps might no longer static and every object will be moving and feel dynamic in real time such as tracking traffic condition by watching it live as you were there. This is the future of maps which completely feel like 22 century technology.
I literally was thinking about this a few months ago. I was trying to find a place on my Windows Phone maps app and was using the AR tech to spin my phone and point out my route in real-time. I felt like that was a neat bump in mapping software that I haven't seen in quite a while. Then I thought about what was next, and what came to mind was exactly what you just commented.

Brony said,
Thanks to the terrorists we can't have shiny things :-(

I think it's the terrorist will be the one who freak out because we can track where they plan to hide from us. Every new technology introduce a few risk that we eventually overcome it and get used to. This won't be any different once it become a reality.