Microsoft has been working to create a database of aerial photos that can be accessed by its Bing Maps service for a while now. Today, the company announced that their Global Ortho Project has now completed its work for the continental United States.
In a post on the official Bing blog, Microsoft says:
With the Global Ortho project, the Bing Maps Imagery team set a new standard in aerial map imagery by collecting every square inch of the Continental United States and Western Europe at 30cm resolution (1 foot = 1 pixel) in just two years – something that had never before been accomplished.
Microsoft acquired Vexcel Imaging in 2006 and improved on that company's UltraCam device for use in its Global Ortho Project. It was able to cover nearly all of the US in just two years, including Cape Canaveral in Florida, where Microsoft took the image above of the now retired space shuttle Atlantis just before its final flight.
Microsoft does admit that the US government would not allow the company to take aerial images of two locations: Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and the infamous Area 51 in Nevada. Obviously because of that crashed spaceship that the Air Force has lying around...
Source: Bing Maps blog | Image via Microsoft