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Yahoo Sees Imagery In Maps

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It has taken a while, but Yahoo has finally matched Google and Microsoft in offering satellite maps for its Maps service.

Michael Lawless and Vince Maniago from Yahoo! Maps posted the announcement of satellite image availability. At Yahoo Maps, the site now contains comprehensive coverage of the continental US at a high resolution.

That coverage includes detailed resolution Yahoo lists as 15 meters per pixel, or zoom level 5, medium resolution, for the global maps and overlays it makes available for locations outside the US.

The Maps team also took the step of smoothing out the satellite images. Seam lines for the images have been nicely buffed away, and the Maps team also normalized the colors used for the image display. This adds up to a much cleaner look, and contributes to an impressive appearance when viewing hybrid maps.

As with many of its projects, Yahoo has made the Maps APIs available previously to developers in its Developer Network. Developers can now use the new satellite imagery and global maps in the mashups they create.

Now that Yahoo has caught up to a couple of major online competitors with its maps, things begin to get interesting. SiliconBeat reported from the SDForum meeting where the focus was on maps and the presenters included Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and Ask.com, a mapping competitor as well.

The article noted some likely gentle sniping between the presenters, with Yahoo taking pains to note the previously-mentioned seamless appearance of its maps. That contrasts with some of its competitors’ satellite image displays that had looked like patchwork creations.

At that meeting, the question arose about the potential for either Yahoo or Google to purchase Navteq, the mapping company providing these very expensive images. Google’s Thai Tran noted how Navteq’s $5 billion market cap would make the company expensive to purchase; that would be especially true if Navteq held out for a premium price.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Yahoo Sees Imagery In Maps
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