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Google Adds Satellite Imagery to Maps 661

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-can't-see-my-house-from-here dept.
Ant writes "BetaNews reports that Google quietly updated its maps service late Monday to include satellite imagery, a first in the industry... Much of Google Maps remains the same - just with detailed pictures from high-tech satellites instead of standard map graphics. Maps can be dragged to view adjacent areas, which means users do not have click and wait for graphics to reload. Zooming is also instantaneous with the help of a slider placed atop the map." The resolution doesn't seem very high, but the integration is very seamless.
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Google Adds Satellite Imagery to Maps

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  • Erm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unique alias (862076) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:15AM (#12142818)
    This isn't an industry first, unless perhaps it's real-time.
  • Re:Erm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MynockGuano (164259) <<moc.liamg> <ta> ... pihCevitcarepyh>> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:17AM (#12142844)
    I think they mean that it's the first time a true mapping/routefinding service (MapQuest, et al) has satellite imagery integrated.
  • hmmm.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jeffy124 (453342) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:18AM (#12142851) Homepage Journal
    maybe they actually were taking aeriel satellite photos last Friday [slashdot.org]. Has google pulled another GMail-like fast one on us all?
  • by Peldor (639336) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:33AM (#12142981)
    Open letter to the head heads at Google:

    Great googly-moogly. Stop with cheap low-res sat photos and try adding a scale to your maps. You know, one of the basic features of a map? The little hashed bar that gives me some idea how far it is from one point on the map to another. I realize it is not innovative or amazingly cool, but it kinda renders your maps useless otherwise.

  • Re:Erm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raddan (519638) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:46AM (#12143092)
    Except that it's FREE and FAST! Wow!
  • by mosschops (413617) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:46AM (#12143094)
    • Resize the image to various resolutions
    • Break the images into 200x200 pixel chunks at each resolution and save those chunks as individual image files
    • Put a javascript interface on
    Rather than working with fixed resolution images, you're must better off using wavelet compression [wikipedia.org] to store your images. As well as up to 50:1 compression ratios, you can easily stream out whatever resolution you need, without having to uncompress all the data first. ECW [es-geo.com] and related formats have been used by GIS [wikipedia.org] systems for many years, long before Google joined the party. Still, it's nice to see so much information publically available.

    I'm certainly looking forward to when Google add the UK data, so I don't have to rely on the limited service from GetMapping [getmapping.com] :-)
  • Come ON, Google! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by HEbGb (6544) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:47AM (#12143106)
    The satellite imagery is nice and all, but it's not very high quality, nor is it anywhere close to the first in the industry - Mapquest had it for years.

    But really, with all the gee whiz about this stuff, Google has totally missed two very important things:

    1. A scale! There's no scale on the maps at all! How hard is this to implement, fercrissakes?!

    2. Printable routes. The neat purple line overlay showing your driving route is not printed by most browsers (IE/Firefox). Very annoying.

    These are really, really easy things for them to implement. I'm stunned that they overlooked it.
  • Re:Erm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Politburo (640618) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @09:59AM (#12143229)
    And it would be wrong, imo, since the photos were/are still available from many other sources.

    I would think the reason was cost. The photos cost money to licence, cost money to store, and cost money to transmit. Mapquest is primarily a mapping/direction service. Adding photos didn't add much to their product, but added to their cost. My guess: It simply wasn't worth it.
  • by hachete (473378) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:07AM (#12143317) Homepage Journal
    To you and all the others who made this suggestion (and who were modded as "insightful" rather than "redundant") the maps thing is still only a BETA after all. One day soon, the mighty google will give you all your christmas presents, with added paranoia.

  • by GeckoX (259575) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @10:07AM (#12143321)
    I can see my van parked in my driveway.
    Frankly, I don't really want more than that accessible to the masses.
  • Re:Erm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bleckywelcky (518520) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @11:00AM (#12143821)
    Perhaps that is why certain images from Google have been obscured? Several buildings on and near the White House property have been covered up. The entire grounds of the Capitol building are blurry (while the surrounding area is 10x or 100x sharper) ... Commence the conspiracy theories!
  • by Larry Lightbulb (781175) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @12:58PM (#12144923)
    Isn't the point of beta to test and criticize it?
  • by Storlek (860226) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:03PM (#12146932)
    Let me get this straight... You're breaking CSS stylesheets with rules that you wrote because some websites do annoying things with them. These rules screw up Google's site, and you expect Google to rewrite their site? It's not going to happen.

    I have a rule in my userContent.css that sets display: none for embedded iframes, because some websites use them in obnoxious ways, but if a legitimate site has one, I'm not going to tell them that they need to change everything just because my user stylesheet is interfering with their site. I'd try to hack around it, and if I couldn't do that, I could either take the rule out and stop browsing annoying websites, or deal with it like anyone else who doesn't have a user stylesheet. Telling other sites not to use something because you don't like it is like telling everyone you know to talk louder because you're going deaf and don't want a hearing aid.

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