Google Earth has received a major dataset upgrade overnight. The entire globe is now marked with new strips of high resolution imagery, much of it in regions with low population densities. This is without a doubt the single largest high-resolution update yet, in terms of surface area.
Large desert areas in Africa are now in high resolution, including the Nile region and the entire soutwest African coastline. Many parts of Tibet, Nepal, India and Pakistan have been upgraded, including the Karakoram and the Himalayas. Large tracts of Siberia have been upgraded, as has the interior of Australia. Ditto with Mexico — especially the Baja peninsula — and much of Central America’s coastlines. It’s as if Google went to DigitalGlobe and said, “What’s left that we don’t have yet? Can we make a deal?”
Craig Stanton emailed to point out much higher resolutions in New Zealand. Google Earth Blog notes that many islands have had their imagery upgraded.
Notably, too, large parts of Israel are now in high resolution,
Including the Dimona nuclear site. [My bad: The base – not the town – is in a low resolution area to the southeast.]
High resolution imagery of remote areas is directly useful for science projects, but also for humanitarian agencies — in short, anyone who wants to do more than look at urban landscapes (interesting as they are).
The database changes have not made it to Google Maps yet. Google hasn’t yet announced the update on Google Earth Community.