Google Earth Gains More Detailed Images

    June 7, 2007

Google Earth recently incorporated some images of the seabed around Britain, and the few people who heard about this tended to shrug in response.  The introduction of Street View, on the other hand, may have generated a little too much excitement.  The latest Google Earth release – detailed images of western America – may hit a happy medium.

Frank Taylor of the Google Earth Blog labels the advancement “new high resolution 3D terrain, or digital elevation model (DEM) data.”  He then explains its significance, writing, “The new data is 10-meter resolution.  Google Earth’s terrain data mostly comes from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission which is at best 30 meter and sometimes 90 meter in resolution.  This means Google Earth’s data for the western US and the Canaries is now three to nine times higher than before.”

So things in (parts of) Google Earth should look much, much better than they have in the past.  Taylor encourages users to find out for themselves, and adds, “Those of you who are familiar with the western mountains should try it out.  Two better-known examples: the Grand Canyon of Arizona and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming are good places to start.”

As for anyone who wants to look at places outside of America, Taylor notes that Google has already made these sorts of high-resolution images available for the Swiss Alps, and will, as is the search engine company’s way, probably get around to the rest of the world in the near future.  Smart money has Google focusing first on the UK and Europe.

So there you have it: cool, non-threatening stuff from Google Earth.