Earth-watching satellite to improve Google Earth images

DigitalGlobe, provider of imagery for Google Incorporated's interactive mapping program Google Earth, plans to launch a new high-resolution satellite, dubbed WorldView I, on Tuesday. Together with the company's existing Quickbird satellite, it will offer half-meter resolution and will be able to collect over 600,000 square kilometers of imagery each day, up from the current collection of that amount each week, according to Chief Executive Jill Smith. Privately held DigitalGlobe is still working toward an initial public offering in the next few years, Smith said.

Smith also noted that WorldView I would allow far faster collection of imagery, and add more quickly to the company's archive containing 300 million square kilometers of satellite and aerial imagery, already the world's largest commercial archive of satellite images. The new satellite will also provide far more accurate data, including the ability to pinpoint objects on the Earth at three to 7.5 meters, or 10 to 25 feet. Using known reference points on the ground, the accuracy would rise to about two meters. DigitalGlobe built the satellite in part with $500 million in funding from the Pentagon's National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but it can sell the images commercially as long as their resolution is no sharper than a half-meter.

View: WorldView I Launch
News source: MSNBC

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My area is just a green blur, when are they going to add USGS aerial photography? Until then, I'll stick with Worldwind, where I can see cars in my driveway.

Here's the technical details of WorldView I:

And the even further ahead upcoming WorldView II, for 2008:

WorldView I will have a 275 GB error detecting and correcting solid state online storage and 800 Mbps data downlink. Damn!
I don't like being owned so hard with a wired connection compared to that wireless one. :D

It'll collect 40 GB of data per orbit and use a maximum resolution of 50 cm, the maximum allowed by the US gov't for non-gov't customers. A bit sad we'll hereby not see higher resolution in Google Earth not due to technical problems, but artificial barriers like that. I would personally not be worried about my privacy if the max resolution was doubled at least. It would still look like a picture from pretty high above.

Hey, if they want to do the entire planet at 10 cm, I'll wear a wig and dark glasses if necessary! But I won't complain!

but what i would like is have the images as close to realtime as possible... having things look like top down as they were months ago doesnt feel that useful...

No chance of someone getting a Google earth logo with a transparent background? Looks a bit TOO unprofessional for the front page =P

the military stuff is classified and like theres a certain resolution above which nobody but the military is allowed to have, but i agree we are far from being half meter resolution across the whole world...

and yeah more frequent updates would be nice, weather permitting, imho this is more important than having higher resolution

this is pure propaganda. they have so much more technology than they tell, all the earth is already mapped full res since the 20 th century. I' not even talking of only google, so go figures.

And let me guess, they will only update the large city areas once again... back when Google Earth was keyhole my area had high res images of it... then when google took over we lost all of them... and now you cant even tell there is a town here....

This would be nice because the only problems with google earth right now is the resolution and that the area that I live in (Maple Valley, WA) hasn't been updated in about 7 years, both of which sound like they will be addressed by the new sattelite.