Google’s Great Big GeoEye in the Sky
Geoeye is launching a satellite with the highest resolution available on the market and they are lending its technology exclusively to Google. Google is even putting its logo on the rocket that launches the satellite. Google has been using GeoEye among other providers to this point, and will continue to do so. However, none have ever contributed any imagery this sophisticated.
National Stadium, Beijing, China, Collected August 18, 2008
Unfortunately for those concerned about privacy, this means they will be able to get clearer images from closer distances. If you happen to be standing in your yard while a picture from the satellite is taken, they might be able to see birthmarks and other imperfections in your skin. Ok, I’m not sure if they’ll be getting that close. I’m just trying to do my part to fuel the paranoia.
Don’t worry. While the satellite is capable of achieving .41 meters resolution in black and white and 1.65 meters in color, Reuters says that current government rules only allow them to offer half-meter images to the public. Of course, they can still see closer.
The satellite is worth about $502 million, though the financial transaction between Google and GeoEye is unclear. Images from the satellite should start appearing on Google within the next several months. It is launching in 6 days.