October 10, 2008

New Google Earth Satellite Image Released

GeoEye Inc. has released a high-resolution color image of a U.S. university to show what its new, highly accurate mapping satellite can do for Google Earth.

The image of Pennsylvania's Kutztown University was taken Tuesday when the GeoEye-1 satellite was 423 miles above the 326-acre campus, the Dulles, Va., company says.

The provider of satellite and aerial imagery boasts GeoEye-1 is "the world's highest resolution and most accurate commercial imaging satellite."

GeoEye-1's main client is the U.S. Defense Department's mapping arm, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but Google Inc. has exclusive commercial rights to its images.

Google has not said when it plans to use the images for Google Maps as well as Google Earth.

Because of national security concerns, Google images will have lower resolution than the government's images, but will still be of higher resolution and better quality than now, GeoEye says.

"Though the satellite collects imagery at 0.41-meter ground resolution, due to U.S. licensing restrictions, commercial customers will only get access to imagery that has been processed to half-meter ground resolution," GeoEye says.

Why did GeoEye shoot Kutztown University?

"When we opened the camera door at noon on Oct. 7 and looked down on the earth 423 miles below, the school was underneath us," GeoEye Vice President for Communications and Marketing Mark Brender told The Washington Post. "It is truly our first image."