Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

"Google Satellite" To Be Launched This Week

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the how-many-fingers dept.

Google 280

Lord Satri writes "Well, almost. Google signed an exclusivity deal with GeoEye regarding GeoEye-1, the most advanced high-resolution, civil, remote-sensing satellite to date. This must be annoying for other high-resolution, remote-sensing data users since Google already has an exclusivity deal in place with DigitalGlobe, the other major civil satellite imagery provider. From the CNet article: 'Under the deal, Google is the exclusive online mapping site that may use the imagery... in its Google Maps and Google Earth product. And as a little icing on the cake, Google's logo is on the side of the rocket set to launch the 4,300-pound satellite in six days from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. GeoEye-1 will orbit 423 miles above Earth, but it will be able to gather imagery with details the size of 41 centimeters... Google, though, is permitted to use data only with a resolution of 50 cm because of the terms of GeoEye's license with the US government.'"

cancel ×

280 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Gee I should have had a.. (2, Funny)

erica_ann (910043) | about 6 years ago | (#24850991)

Google Chrome and now GeoEye. Wow, I could have had Google Stock instead of all those V-8's ! I should have..

Re:Gee I should have had a.. (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#24851029)

All your space belong to us!

Re:Gee I should have had a.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24852157)

all myspace is belong to you.

Re:Gee I should have had a.. (1)

Kagura (843695) | about 6 years ago | (#24851039)

How can you drink that? It's like tomato soup in a can! :)

Re:Gee I should have had a.. (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#24851267)

Tomato soup doesn't have nearly as much salt.

I still guzzle V8 when I have it around. I can go through half-gallon bottle in a day easily, so I usually don't buy it because it's expensive to drink $4 worth of beverage in a day. (Milk and unsweetened iced tea make up the vast majority of what I drink.)

The jury's still out (3, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 6 years ago | (#24851019)

Is a Google satellite evil or not evil? Discuss.

The satellite's still out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851059)

Yes the satellite is evil and must be brought down before it takes over the world. Now Google however...

Re:The jury's still out (3, Interesting)

The_Wilschon (782534) | about 6 years ago | (#24851263)

Exclusivity agreements like this one are definitely quite nastily anti-competitive, which I would say is evil.

Re:The jury's still out (1, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#24851645)

The only reason it's evil is because it ultimately relies on copyright law. This exclusivity agreement would be worthless if Google couldn't prosecute people using the images they display to provide a competing service.

Re:The jury's still out (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#24851657)

Google bought outer space?

Re:The jury's still out (5, Funny)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | about 6 years ago | (#24851735)

Is there a death ray? It's the only way to be sure.

Re:The jury's still out (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | about 6 years ago | (#24851917)

Evil if US Government has "shutter control"

Not evil if anyone can buy imagery from anywhere on the globe for the same rate and that all purchased imagery is published on the web

Google Earth (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851027)

In Soviet Earth Goog.... nevermind.

Re:Google Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24852179)

In Soviet Earth Goog.... nevermind."

Hahahah ! Best version of this I have seen for a while.

Precisions on the summary (4, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | about 6 years ago | (#24851035)

Some precisions on my summary. DigitalGlobe is obviously not the only other remote sensing data provider, but it's GeoEye main competitor in civil high-resolution multispectral remote sensing. GeoEye is itself the merging of two other previous major players on the same playing field, OrbImage and Space Imaging [slashgeo.org] .

As for my claim of an agreement between DigitalGlobe and Google, see this two years old entry [slashgeo.org] . The original archive for the DG message is here [osdir.com] (the link on /geo does not work anymore).

One of the obvious questions that comes to mind is to which extent these exclusivity deals have negative impacts on other remote sensing imagery customers, small or big.

Another question is; does Google really needs such a deal to provide the best webmapping and virtual globes-related tools?

Re:Precisions on the summary (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 6 years ago | (#24851127)

"Another question is; does Google really needs such a deal to provide the best webmapping and virtual globes-related tools?"

I've used Google Earth for my area and lets just say that the state provides better maps and imagery.

Re:Precisions on the summary (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 6 years ago | (#24851503)

Exclusivity doesn't make Google's mapping products any better, it just makes their competitors' products worse. Sounds anti-competitive and "evil" to me.

Re:Precisions on the summary (4, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#24851695)

Maybe the satellite company wouldn't afford a satellite if it didn't sell exclusive rights to the pictures.

I'm not saying the whole thing isn't evil, it's just a little more complicated than you make it appear.

Re:Precisions on the summary (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851919)

Excuse me but competition is defined as somebody winning and somebody losing. Google is winning and doesn't appear to be cheating, how can that be anti-competitive? I wish you people would figure out that a monopoly isn't evil, it is the goal of all companies. Illegally suppressing your rivals is anti-competitive, cornering the market is not.

Re:Precisions on the summary (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24852057)

"anti-competitive" is defined as anything that is against competition. Exclusive contracts with suppliers is exactly that.

Re:Precisions on the summary (4, Insightful)

rockmuelle (575982) | about 6 years ago | (#24851933)

My biggest concern as a consumer of GIS data has always been access to the high-quality, tax-payer funded data (which is usually aerial, not satellite). Exclusivity deals are fine as long as any data gathered from the instruments for tax-payer funded programs remains accessible without restrictions.

I'm not sure how deals such as Google's will affect this, but as the parent pointed out, there are already many sources of high-quality data from government sources.

If there is something to fear from Google Maps/Earth, it's the spatial imagery mono-culture developing around consumer and media GIS applications. Google's approach is by no means the best approach for all geospatial data, it just happens to work well for navigating large data sets. But, as we've learned from Microsoft, if enough people are using a solution, the level of technology present in dominant solution becomes the "state-of-the-art" even if it isn't.

-Chris

Re:Precisions on the summary (3, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24851833)

I keep hoping that Google will start releaseing some of their data into the public domain/GPL/Creative Commons.
That Google spy van must be gathering data like speed limits, which streets are one way. Maybe even which are paved and not.
One place missing GPL application is a really good navigation system.

why the (3, Interesting)

ionix5891 (1228718) | about 6 years ago | (#24851087)

50cm restriction? do they have something to hide??

Re:why the (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851175)

the 50cm restriction on resolution is a government restriction. Even though the satellites are capable of higher resolution shots, they'll have to shoot at slightly lower quality.

Re:why the (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | about 6 years ago | (#24851203)

why mark me as troll? whats wrong with asking does the government have anything to hide?

Re:why the (3, Insightful)

ksd1337 (1029386) | about 6 years ago | (#24851595)

These are only US government restrictions. What about other countries?

Re:why the (4, Interesting)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#24851739)

I can think of a few loopholes around this regulation.

What about taking many low resolution images of the same area and combine them later using super resolution [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:why the (5, Funny)

loshwomp (468955) | about 6 years ago | (#24851227)

50cm restriction? do they have something to hide??

Everyone knows WMDs are only 49cm across.

Re:why the (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851437)

50cm restriction? do they have something to hide??

Everyone knows WMDs are only 49cm across.

I know a few gentlemen in my favorite streaming video web sites who should be worried that google can take pictures of 19 inch monster appendages :D

Re:why the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851875)

I know a few gentlemen in my favorite streaming video web sites who should be worried that google can take pictures of 19 inch monster appendages :D

Now, somethin' about that is just downright unsettlin'.

Re:why the (3, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | about 6 years ago | (#24851233)

Do you really think that the difference between 41cm and 50cm, when it comes to satellite imagery, is going to hide that much?

Re:why the (2, Interesting)

downhole (831621) | about 6 years ago | (#24851541)

I don't think that there's much of a difference, but if there's going to be a line in how high resolution they can distribute, they have to draw it somewhere. They can't let things go by just because it's "only a little bit better" than what's allowed, or else there might as well not be a line there at all.

Re:why the (5, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | about 6 years ago | (#24851547)

Hmm, I'd be inclined to bet that it will hide precisely 9cm!

Re:why the (1)

caluml (551744) | about 6 years ago | (#24852091)

(50^2) - (41^2) = 819 cm2

Re:why the (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#24851639)

You'd be surprised, you're not going to hide an object like that.

But if you're limited to 50cm, that means that you're not going to be able to accurately identify a number of things. You'd be able to pick out a book on a table, but you'd not know what it was. You might be able to tell that that lady is sunbathing in the nude, but not actually see anything.

It also makes it more difficult to tell objects apart from each other.

Re:why the (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 6 years ago | (#24852107)

But if you're limited to 50cm, that means that you're not going to be able to accurately identify a number of things. You'd be able to pick out a book on a table, but you'd not know what it was. You might be able to tell that that lady is sunbathing in the nude, but not actually see anything.

50cm is like half a meter. Most people are under 2 meters tall, and between 50cm and 100cm wide. So if you had a resolution of 50cm, you wouldn't see a 'lady sunbathing in the nude' you'd see 1x4 to 2x4 block of colored pixels. Try to draw a 'woman sunbathing in the nude' using 8 pixels. Now using 4-8 pixels draw each of 'borat wearing a g-string', a pig, a camel, a litter of cocker spaniels, a beige hammock, and a cardboard box and explain how to tell them apart.

For comparison the 'mario' in the original Nintendo "Super Mario Brothers" was around 400 pixels. And they had to dedicate the entire top 3rd to his head just so that he'd have a discernable eye, nose, and moustache.

Re:why the (4, Funny)

afabbro (33948) | about 6 years ago | (#24852227)

50cm is like half a meter.

It's precisely half a meter.

Re:why the (1)

imbaczek (690596) | about 6 years ago | (#24851679)

it's almost 20%, that's quite a lot I guess.

Re:why the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851869)

For God's sake, this is a wang joke waiting to happen. Won't somebody step up?

Re:why the (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#24851985)

Maybe the difference between an F-15D and and F-15E.
My guess is that anything better is really too useful.

Re:why the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851443)

They can still see my penis from space.

Re:why the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851489)

Yes, all the secret UFOs they have hidden at Area 51 are 49cm long.

Re:why the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851511)

The reason is privacy. (to an extent)

While in general, it won't matter, it could help to prevent details being displayed to the extent that you could ID someone from space.

At least, i'd guess it would be for that reason.

Re:why the (4, Informative)

lgw (121541) | about 6 years ago | (#24851533)

50cm restriction? do they have something to hide??

For once the government is protecting our pivacy (a side effect of portecting its own, no doubt). 50cm resolution hides the identity and activity of individuals, which is for the best.

Re:why the (3, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 6 years ago | (#24851629)

I don't know why you're marked troll. You shouldn't be.

Anyway, above a certain threshold, it starts to get a military-grade function, and therefore it's not something they want the general public to have. The general public includes America's Enemies.

It's the same reason why commercial GPS shuts down above 60,000 feet or faster than [can't remember the units].

I'm sure an American will point out that their 2nd Amendment grant the citizens rights to GPS-equipped military hardware.

in related news.. (2)

Briden (1003105) | about 6 years ago | (#24851111)

close your curtains please.

Kewl (3, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | about 6 years ago | (#24851133)

Shiny new browser that can do everything and fancy new satellite. The only thing missing is my new RFID implant.

Re:Kewl (3, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | about 6 years ago | (#24852015)

The only thing missing is my new RFID implant.

I have mine already! It is still beta and therefore limited availability for pre-registered users.

do no evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851135)

The web's cross-platform, but it's not inconsistent to launch your own browser instead of working on interoperability with all platforms, because Google does no evil, right?

Google's goal is to make all information available to everyone at any time, but an exclusivity deal on use of information is OK, because Google does no evil, right?

Extra! Extra! (1, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | about 6 years ago | (#24851155)

Google starts plans for Moon base and Mars base, right after the space elevator is completed, and the new high power laser defense system the army is working on gets better than 19% efficiency. (to combat alien intruders) Oh, and they need the flying cars as well to round out the high tech glory.

Plus new Mars and Moon search services will be launched. Find your future lost relatives on Mars or the Moon.

Re:Extra! Extra! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851909)

Google starts plans for Moon base and Mars base, right after the space elevator is completed, and the new high power laser defense system the army is working on gets better than 19% efficiency. (to combat alien intruders) Oh, and they need the flying cars as well to round out the high tech glory.

Plus new Mars and Moon search services will be launched. Find your future lost relatives on Mars or the Moon.

In its spare time, Google plans to end world hunger, cure all diseases, bring peace, prosperity and wealth to all humankind (causing neo-cons everywhere to spontaneously vaporize), rescue all endangered species (but eliminate mosquitoes because, well, who needs them?), save the rainforests, invent an infinitely sustainable source of totally green energy, create 6 new colors, give everyone a free lunch (so that we never have to see "TNSTAAFL" again) and get the remaining members of Led Zeppelin to reform and tour (although they will be forbidden from playing Stairway to Heaven). Oh, and get Ballmer a room with a sea view at The Cherry Blossom Clinic.

Meanwhile at microsoft HQ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851159)

Monkey boy is yelling and smashing chairs against the wall again:

"I'm gonna f**king KILL google!!!"

Re:Meanwhile at microsoft HQ (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | about 6 years ago | (#24851565)

Monkey boy is yelling and smashing chairs against the wall again:

"I'm gonna f**king KILL google!!!"

But now with this new satellite we'll actually be able to see the chair carcasses scattered across the Microsoft campus.

Re:Meanwhile at microsoft HQ (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | about 6 years ago | (#24851603)

No, he's going to throw it at the satellite.

Re:Meanwhile at microsoft HQ (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#24851793)

for once - and only once - in my life, I am actually on monkey boy's side.

google has too much power and this only worries me. I see no good coming from this.

Re:Meanwhile at microsoft HQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24852229)

He'll quiet down once the Google Orbital Deathray is launched next year...

FUCK! (0)

anaesthetica (596507) | about 6 years ago | (#24851163)

We are so screwed.

50cm? That barrier is gonna fall soon (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24851169)

Within 1-2 years other countries will have civilian spy satellites that break 50cm, putting American companies at a disadvantage.

The USA will have 3 choices:
Shoot the birds down, literally.
Shoot the birds down, politically - bully the other countries into imposing similar limits.
Lower or eliminate the artificial limit.

Anyone remember when encryption software was considered a munition? Apple and other companies had to go through hoops to export it, putting them at a distinct disadvantage over non-American companies.

50cm? How about 10? (3, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#24851619)

My understanding is that at 50cm resolution, an object that is 50cm across would appear as a single pixel on the image. So, a manhole cover in the street might show up as a single pixel at that resolution. A car's hood might be four pixels, etc. Objects that are smaller than 50cm should not be detectible, especially if they are close to the same color as the background. However, if you zoom in on almost any American city to maximum resolution on google maps's satellite view, you will clearly see traffic lines. Traffic lines are roughly 10cm wide. Often these resolve to two pixels.

So, either my understanding of satellite photo resolution is wrong, or Google can already go to 10cm, and possibly even 5cm resolution.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (4, Informative)

jcam2 (248062) | about 6 years ago | (#24851687)

Google uses aerial photography for the views of major cities - so those 10cm resolution images are not from satellite.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (1)

Hyppy (74366) | about 6 years ago | (#24851691)

I believe the images in urban areas are taken with airplanes. The 50cm limit only applies to satellites in orbit.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851725)

The imagery that you are talking about in Google Maps & Google Earth is most certainly taken from an aircraft, not a satellite, and can have much more definition than a 50cm limit would allow.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (2, Informative)

ksheff (2406) | about 6 years ago | (#24851729)

They complement the satellite photos with aerial photography. This can be purchased from the USGS or other vendors.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24851835)

They use aerial photogr.... wait a minute, *FOUR* other people have said this already.

Don't you wish that everyone would read the whole freakin' thread before replying.

Jesus.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24852177)

Time stamps are pretty close though.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 6 years ago | (#24852219)

If you checked the time of the posts you'd see that the 4 people replied at the same time.

Re:50cm? How about 10? (1)

magicchex (898936) | about 6 years ago | (#24852273)

Aerial photograp... what??

Re:50cm? That barrier is gonna fall soon (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24852147)

when it WAS a munition? Have you looked at the legal requirements recently for selling a program containing encryption, internationally? (perhaps, including something as simple as libSSL on an iphone application)

New to google labs... (1)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | about 6 years ago | (#24851185)

Sunbather search... Bikini excluded

Re:New to google labs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851279)

Sunbather search... Bikini excluded

In that case, does safesearch filter out the fat guys? :P

Re:New to google labs... (2, Funny)

kramulous (977841) | about 6 years ago | (#24852249)

In that case, does safesearch filter out the fat guys? :P

Unfortunately, the US gov only wants you to see the fatties. Why do you think there is the 50cm limit?

This was predicted three years ago (3, Interesting)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | about 6 years ago | (#24851345)

Though at the time.. it was just a April Fools [worldwindcentral.com] joke..

resolution for satellite like digital cams? (1)

_Mustang (96904) | about 6 years ago | (#24851347)

...it will be able to gather imagery with details the size of 41 centimeters... Google, though, is permitted to use data only with a resolution of 50 cm...

I'm not really sure how this breaks down in terms of what I can actually SEE. Since current imagery lets us sorta see people, I'd like to know how much further along are we to seeing _a person_.

Can anyone provide a little more detail, maybe a good example.

And please - no examples using libraries of congress worth of hogsheads of dat tape traveling in the back of station wagons or any somesuch..! ;)

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (4, Informative)

rcw-home (122017) | about 6 years ago | (#24851461)

I'm not really sure how this breaks down in terms of what I can actually SEE. Since current imagery lets us sorta see people

It means a car shows up as 4 pixels by 12 pixels. The top of your head is part of a single pixel along with a square foot of sidewalk.

Google already has higher-res data for populated areas of several countries from aircraft reconnaisance. The satellites are for everything else.

Unfortunately, there is a physical limit [wikipedia.org] to how good an image taken from 400 miles away can be.

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (1)

cats-paw (34890) | about 6 years ago | (#24851621)

    Unfortunately, there is a physical limit to how good an image taken from 400 miles away can be.

Unfortunately ?! I'd say that was fortunate. Wouldn't it be nice if there were limits on other forms of monitoring.

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851637)

Unfortunately, there is a physical limit to how good an image taken from 400 miles away can be.

Well, according to the pretty crummy Wikipedia article, Google just needs to buy a superlens and they can blow right past that limit:

However, through the use of metamaterials, a superlens may be constructed and the diffraction limit is no longer the limit/constraint.

Seriously, I can usually get the gist of something from its Wikipedia article regardless of the subject, but that article is just a mess.

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 years ago | (#24851843)

the diffraction effect is not the only issue; but its worked-around.

recently, there were 'multiple exposure' (roughly) algorithms being used to 'look thru' the heat, pollution and general waviness of the sky, in plotting out celestial objects.

and even *with* diffraction, you can overcome it with sharpening. I often shoot my photos 'with too high an f-stop' according to common theory; but my post-processing overcomes the diffraction issues in practice; and I get the nice large depth-of-field that I was after with quite good sharpness, as well.

if you get multiple shots, exposures or angles of a subject, you can 'subtract out' quite a lot of noise and distortion. single shots can't do this but multiple ('high dyn range' or HDR) shooting can.

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | about 6 years ago | (#24851465)

This thing has enough resolution to pick out your head, all the better to see you with when it gets the laser upgrade

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 6 years ago | (#24851599)

Afaict all the google earth images where you can make out individual people are aerial photographs not sattalite images (google earth uses aerial photographs where they are available and sattalite imageary where they are not).

I think with this new satalite you might see a slight difference in pixel color where a person was standing if the background was even but you wouldn't be able to tell it was a person. Another order of magnitude improvement and it would probablly be comparable to the aerial photographs you get on google earth.

Re:resolution for satellite like digital cams? (1)

caluml (551744) | about 6 years ago | (#24852013)

and sattalite imageary where they are not).

I think with this new satalite you might

You managed to spell satellite in two different ways in your post, both of them wrong.
Nothing wrong with having trouble spelling, especially if English isn't your first language - but Firefox does have a built in spell-checker these days...

A primer on satellite resolution (4, Informative)

Cliff Stoll (242915) | about 6 years ago | (#24851785)

Defining optical resolution from space is a bit tricky, as several generations of optical engineers have discovered.

The main criterion is the telescope's point spread function - this is roughly the angular diameter that a pinpoint star appears to be, as seen through the telescope. We want the smallest point spread function, and it should map onto about one to three sensor pixels. (arguments go here about over/undersampling).

The Fourier Transform of the point spread function is the Optical Transfer Function, which is a graph of the spatial frequencies response of the telescope. It's analogous to a hifi's frequency response ... it's an engineering challenge to prevent high frequencies from getting rolled off.

The main limit for high resolution is the diameter of the primary mirror (All mirrors and optical elements, no matter how perfect, have diffraction effects which spread out the light and reduce resolution. The bigger the entrance pupil, the greater the resolution) For the GeoEye, orbiting at 684Km and a resolution of 0.4m, I roughly calculate the primary mirror is somewhere around a half-meter diameter or so, depending on the wavelength of light it's optimized for.

Other things limit resolution - scattering of light in clear air (Rayleigh scattering) screws up the image, especially in the blue. Dust, haze, clouds and urban pollution are a bother, but not as much as you might think. Naturally, there's lots of image processing software ... quite compute intensive.

A typical human, seen from above and not casting a shadow, is about 20 to 60 cm across. So someone walking down the street should appear on a few (1 to 5) pixels. Not enough to recognize someone, especially since you're looking down on 'em.

Generally, images taken from aircraft have better resolution (they're closer, and there's less Rayleigh scattering). Perhaps airlines will attach automated, downward looking hires cameras to their daily flights.

Launch scheduled for Sep 4 11:50am PDT (2, Informative)

Brett Johnson (649584) | about 6 years ago | (#24851367)

GeoEye-1 is scheduled to launch aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg AFB Sep 4 11:50am PDT. However, unconfirmed reports state that the launch may be delayed because Hurricane Hanna has grounded east coast support personnel.

Re:Launch scheduled for Sep 4 11:50am PDT (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#24851425)

I wonder if it will be visible from the Los Angeles area. I've seen rockets from Vandenberg in the sky, but they were night launches, so very easily seen.

Re:Launch scheduled for Sep 4 11:50am PDT (1)

Brett Johnson (649584) | about 6 years ago | (#24851711)

I live about 50 miles north of Vandenberg and can see most daylight, night, and evening launches. The evening launches are spectacular, although I have only seen one. Its pretty cloudy outside right now. I hope it is clear on Thursday.

Courtesy of Google SatWords (5, Funny)

rbarreira (836272) | about 6 years ago | (#24851421)

Guy comes out of bar holding a girl's hand while walking home. Suddenly, a targeted ad for condoms is projected on the ground in front of them.

Re:Courtesy of Google SatWords (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#24851719)

Suddenly, a targeted ad for condoms is projected on the ground in front of them.

... of course they can't make it out, because of all the other ads already painted on the ground, the walls, the streets, and every other free bit of space there is...

Someone tell me why the resolution limit ? (1)

zymano (581466) | about 6 years ago | (#24851451)

resolution of 50 cm?

What's up with that?

Top secret military sites?

Re:Someone tell me why the resolution limit ? (1)

Facegarden (967477) | about 6 years ago | (#24851585)

I was going to make a comment about Ron Jeremy, but i'll spare you...
-Taylor

4300 lb? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 6 years ago | (#24851613)

I'll be honest and admit I am no expert, but a 4300 satellite must be very expensive to launch to that altitude.

Gooeye? (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 6 years ago | (#24851623)

Is that anything like pirate eye?

Google Universe released (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851647)

Now with 10^100 atoms.

My keys (1)

bingo_cannon (779085) | about 6 years ago | (#24851743)

Still not enough to find my keys! :(

Good news (2)

GRW (63655) | about 6 years ago | (#24851807)

This is good news. Google Earth is one of my favorite applications, but I have been frustrated by the resolution of many areas outside of cities. I will have to do better at hiding my secret nuclear missile silo though. :-)

Map accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24851837)

Maybe now they can start fixing their maps - the round pond in the middle of Kensington Gardens in London has been obviously broken in Google Maps for a long time - it's neither round, nor in the right place. If such a prominent location goes unfixed, I dread to think what happens to mistakes in more out of the way places.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=round+pond,+london&sll=51.50527,-0.180845&sspn=0.009189,0.019312&ie=UTF8&ll=51.505724,-0.180566&spn=0.009189,0.019312&z=16 [google.com]

Which Orbit? (2, Interesting)

smilinggoat (443212) | about 6 years ago | (#24851949)

I did RTFA but nowhere did I see any information about which orbit they're going to use.

It can't be geosynchronous because that wouldn't allow them to photograph all of the country at once. In order to cover the whole US, they'll need to have an orbit that passes the satellite over different parts of the country at different times.

The interesting thing is that in order to get such an orbit, it has to pass over other countries. Will Google take footage of other countries? If so, will it use that footage? That would probably require some intense international negotiations.

Re:Which Orbit? (3, Informative)

WUNHJazz (761316) | about 6 years ago | (#24852189)

Given the orbital height of 423 miles above the surface, this satellite will have a near-polar sun-synchronous orbit similar to other land imaging satellites (the Landsats, IKONOS, etc).

Re:Which Orbit? (2, Informative)

usul294 (1163169) | about 6 years ago | (#24852225)

423 miles is stated in the summary which implies Low-earth orbit, most likely. The word choice doesn't seem to support it, but it could be on an elliptical orbit that takes it out to 423 miles, which increases the exposure time on the given spot. But to do that it would have to dip pretty low, causing small(but significant over months/years) drag. Also, I'm commenting on the new Google Satellite while test driving the new Google Browser

Competition (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | about 6 years ago | (#24852033)

From the discussion I'm reading (not here exclusively either) it would appear that everybody thinks that any one having a superior position in the market is evil. Sorry but by that definition I want the most evil company on the planet. Cornering the market on a commodity is the time honored method of gaining ground on the competition. After all a competition has both winners and losers. It would appear you all don't want a competition you want a communism where everybody shares the market equally with no one having any advantage. Sorry folks that's not how it works. Get over it folks we live in a capitalist economy there will be losers and there will be winners, quit whining. Look up the definition of Competition.

Re:Competition (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24852165)

This is the american way of doing business. Competition exists to ensure that customers get the best possible price. That's why we tolerate it. That's why we encourage it. When a company talks about putting up "barriers to entry" and signs exclusive deals with all the suppliers, we don't get the benefits of competition anymore.

Uh oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24852075)

I just used the Google browser to look up on Google Finance whether or not the price of Google's stock was affected by the launch of the Google-branded satellite...

This can't end well!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>