Google Maps Updates, Increases Satellite Coverage
Since the integration of Keyhole’s satellite technology into their mapping service, Google Maps has become incredibly popular and quite useful. The use of high-resolution images puts portions of the globe in the palms of their visitors’ hands; and it appears as if this ability will only increase.
Recently, Google increased the amount of coverage their Keyhole satellite imaging presents, continuing their push towards true global support. Apparently, there will be a couple of ways users can access this technology: the first will be Google Earth, the paid (or perhaps not), wholly interactive map service that allows users to zoom to street level, similar to an aircraft.
The second method, which will likely remain free, is Google Maps. It appears as if Google will continue to introduce more and more areas outside of the US and Canada that will support the up-close zoom function of Google Maps. As Google continues to increase it’s zoom-able coverage, Google Maps continues to become a tool the whole world can use (provided they have Internet access).
Currently, the Google Maps satellite imaging is available for the entire planet, but only certain areas can be zoomed in on. The update allows more global areas to support image scaling. These areas, while not officially designated, are distinguishable against areas that do not support close-ups.
Areas that completely support the Maps zoom tool possess a different hue, as if they are out of place. These areas almost appear as scars or scabs in the area’s topography. Unfortunately, there is not a comprehensive list of areas that have been included in the Google Maps update. However, Google Sightseeing offers a couple of countries that have been included in the mix:
After some experimenting, I also noticed some areas in the southern area of Africa supports complete zoom, as do some areas of Australia, China and Japan. The continents also provide users a level of zoom-ability as well, however, these areas do not support a complete zoom-in.
As it stands now, Google Maps provides users with enough detail to enjoy a trip around the world without leaving the comfort of your home (or computer chair). As the level of geographic detail continues to improve, especially for the global metropolitan areas, Google Maps will carry on as one of the more popular tools available.
When you consider the usefulness of Google Maps in its current incarnation, the idea of an even more comprehensive Google Earth certainly whets the appetite. This craving is only increased when you read the Unofficial Google Blog’s review:
Google Earth makes the traditional Keyhole experience less geeky, and accomplishes a nearly complete integration of Google Local and Google Maps. An important aspect of the changeover is the planet-wide graphics update which renders every inch of the globe in medium detail at least-populated areas get the high-rez treatment in which cars, trees, and occasionally people are discernible.
But, if you don’t want to potentially pay for the upcoming global satellite mapping service, the abilities of the standard Google Maps will probably (definitely?) suffice, especially as Google continues to increase its zoom-able “index”.