Software

Google Earth satellite Landsat 8 Revolution

Thanks to a new generation of Landsat satellites, Google can provide now much clearer images of the Earth. The recordings are already available in the ‘Maps’ services and ‘Earth’. Now you can see the neighbors even more accurately in the garden.

For more than 40 years, satellites of the “Landsat” program revolve around the Earth. They provide photographs that serve the climate research as well as agriculture. But the pictures have never been as clear as it is today. “Landsat 8”, the latest generation of satellites, sending brilliant photos to Earth. They are free for everyone and available free of charge – for Google making significantly more attractive maps.

Landsat 8 Revolution
New Google Earth. Photo: maps.google.com (Rimini HQ cadincadout.com)

For example New York, Where previously only blurred individual large buildings were to recognize, skyscrapers are now clear to distinguish, even the shadows of the buildings are clearly visible. In Central Park, you can see the contours of the baseball fields.

Tucked image of the shrinking glacier

The US authority for geological observation of USGS and NASA jointly run the Landsat program. Landsat 8 has better cameras and sensors and can produce not only details, but also accurate shots. For scientists, this is a tremendous step forward: you can track forest loss in the tropics, the consequences of landslides or the shrinking of glaciers still with greater precision.

Google programming interface consists mosaics from the images by using a publicly accessible “Earth engine“. For this, the best images were selected, which were not affected by clouds. The latest mosaic has 700 trillion pixels, as it says in a company blog.

Landsat 8
The new satellite Landsat 8 provides significantly better pictures than its predecessors. Now, Google has incorporated the higher-res images into his service maps and Earth. Photo: USGS

In this way arose also aesthetically impressive images such as that of the Columbia glacier in Alaska, the climate scientists particularly closely because he has lost about half of its ice mass in the past 40 years.

Innovation does not apply to all images

What does not show Google in his blog, has caused for some users but for disappointment: in “Earth”, partly still old images can be found. Technical progress apparently only applies to recordings of more than 100 km altitude. Zooming closer, seem less clear images of the object.

Landsat - Columbia glacier in Alaska
Beautiful, but threatened: The Columbia glacier in Alaska has lost about half of its ice mass. Photo: Google Earth

Nevertheless, Google’s services with the new data of course gaining appeal. Also, Landsat 8 eliminates an existing for years hardware problem of its predecessor that caused that thick white bar verunzierten lots of pictures – here, then simply lacked the necessary data.