Google Maps and Earth are great resources to explore the world from the comfort of your computer and if you’ve been feeling that the imagery could be a little sharper, well your wish has been granted. Google today announced that both Maps and Earth will now offer significantly sharper satellite images as it’s now pulling in the imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite.
Google last updated Maps and Earth’s satellite imagery back in 2013 when it started pulling in images from NASA’s less-capable Landsat 7 satellite. That particular satellite had a hardware failure in 2003 which resulted in diagonal gaps of missing data for some parts of the world.
NASA’s Landsat 8 captures images with greater detail and color very rapidly, it actually captures twice as many images as the Landsat 7 does in a single day.
Now that images are being sourced from the Landsat 8 satellite both Google Maps and Earth offer sharper and detailed imagery. Selective portions of the Earth with clear skies are stitched together to create a mosaic without clouds. This enables Google to provide users with an extremely clear picture of the entire world.
Anybody can experience this updated satellite imagery starting today. Just fire up Google Maps and activate the satellite layer to see the new mosaic Google has created with nearly a petabyte of data that contains more than 700 trillion pixels. It’s a sight to behold.