Sydney Gets Fuzzy Under Google Maps

    August 13, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Views of Australia’s well-known metropolis on Google Maps have diminished in their clarity, resulting in conspiracy theories and denials from the search company.

Sydney Gets Fuzzy Under Google Maps
Sydney Gets Fuzzy Under Google Maps

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Australia 2007 Summit scheduled for September 2-9 in Sydney will bring in powerful political visitors like US President George W. Bush, protestors and their causes, and potentially the spectre of terrorism. We don’t envy the work Australian security professionals have to do in Sydney in preparation.

It’s been suggested by the Sydney Morning Herald that such preparations have extended to cyberspace, specifically that niche served by Google Maps and its satellite imagery. Views of Sydney from above have taken a turn for the blurrier, with the Herald hinting at national security requests resulting in Google taking down some of their best imagery:

Users of Google Maps Australia could previously zoom in for satellite views as close as 25 metres above the ground in much of Sydney, but now maps of the CBD are blurry even when zoomed out to 300 metres. Where individual people, tree branches and garbage bin lids were once visible, they can now only be seen as vague outlines of objects.

The high-resolution satellite images, which were introduced this year, appear to have been replaced by lower quality versions for the Sydney CBD only, and not for suburbs like Bondi Beach and Point Piper.

The article indicated how updates to imagery of Washington DC did not include much of the downtown area, where lower resolution images remain the norm.

Google has blamed the Sydney image downgrade "as a result of a commercial issue with a supplier." That’s a strange claim, as Google just happens to own Keyhole, a satellite image company that has mapped the world.