Imagery update: US, London 2006, South Georgia

There is plenty to go see in Google Earth today, as it’s been updated with lots new content, as listed by PenguinOpus on Google Earth Community. There’s new stuff in the US, 10cm-per-pixel imagery of London from early 2006 (taken in winter, no doubt to avoid further exposure to topless sunbathers:-), plenty of new high resolution cities all over the place as well as new strips of high resolution imagery in Darfur (more about that later). As usual, Google Earth Blog has a blow-by-blow account (Look up Burning Man, and compare it to the map overlay).

And South Georgia is no longer blurry, thanks to a gem of an image provided by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It is a rare cloud-free Landsat ETM+ image of the island, and it now forms the base layer for South Georgia in Google Earth.

Why is this a Good Thing ™? Because everybody wins: BAS is able to further its mandate by making such imagery available to the public, but at the same time bandwidth costs are carried by Google, which in return gets a better base layer for Google Earth. We of course win, because now we can go follow along with Shackleton’s expedition all over again, and where before things got blurry, they are now in high resolution. And finally, scientists — especially those gearing up for the International Polar Year in 2007-2008 — get a much improved canvas against which to publish their data and discoveries. Earth’s poles remain some of Google Earth’s last terra incognita, but that’s changing bit by bit.