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Google's Satellites Could Soon See Your Face From Space

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the google-face-view dept.

Space 140

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes Two months ago, after much lobbying by the biggest satellite company in North America, DigitalGlobe, the US government relaxed restrictions to allow for commercially available satellite imagery up to 25 cm resolution—twice as detailed as the previous limit of 50 cm.
The DigitalGlobe's Worldview-3, the first commercial satellite set to capture these high-res images is set to launch this Wednesday. Six months after that, private businesses, including its regular client Google, will be able to get their hands on hyper-detailed photos and videos of the globe.

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but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (5, Insightful)

davecotter (1297617) | about 3 months ago | (#47651469)

doesn't that mean my entire face would be 1 pixel large?

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (5, Funny)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 3 months ago | (#47651483)

Shhh... You aren't supposed to bring facts into a "ZOMFG SCARY HEADLINE!" debate!

Must Google stick with US satellites ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653311)

If the US government disallows commercial satellite images to have a resolution finer than 25cm Google could have contracted with satellite companies from Europe or India or Japan or Russia or China - they do not have that kind of artificial restriction

If I were Google, I would set up a foreign subsidiary and sent up a satellite that can have far sharper image than whatever the US government imposes and then use those images in the Google Map / Google Earth

Re:Must Google stick with US satellites ? (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about 3 months ago | (#47653421)

im pretty sure you are also not allowed to _use_ images with higher resolutions

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47651521)

doesn't that mean my entire face would be 1 pixel large?

Maybe two if you have a big mouth..... (Shush up Dave!)

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 3 months ago | (#47651649)

doesn't that mean my entire face would be 1 pixel large?

I think Slashdot editors believe that all of the readers must be profoundly obese chinbeards...as in, multiple chins, and a beard for each of them.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 3 months ago | (#47652485)

All the way down to their bulbous DDD man bewbs,

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 3 months ago | (#47651783)

Well, for now. A couple of lobbyists and satellites later it will be able to get as clear as your cellphone camera pictures

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 3 months ago | (#47652419)

The mirror for that satellite would have to be several hundred meters in diameter.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653079)

"That's no moon"

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (3, Informative)

Herve5 (879674) | about 3 months ago | (#47653267)

Not specially. It depends on the satellite altitude. For low orbits, a 1-m telescope is vastly sufficient for 25-cm resolutions.
Maybe you are confused with Geostationary orbits, where indeed enormous mirrors would be required to get hi-res (GEO stays interesting because of its permanence : only from tyere you can get a "movie"; from low orbits it's images "on the fly")

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 months ago | (#47653479)

..and to be clear as cellphone pics from one meter it would need to be 10 000 times the resolution.. so?

better headline.. "be able to tell possibly what kind of a car you're driving and what hardware some random 3rd world country has in their military base".

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (3, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#47651803)

You've seen the graphics in Minecraft, haven't you? Pixels can get pretty detailed...

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653367)

Like a box.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651965)

Ah yes but you forget...

ENHANCE!

If you think nobody's head is that big... (4, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 3 months ago | (#47652059)

...you obviously haven't been hanging around here for long.

I trust them (3, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#47652077)

I have complete confidence that companies will follow all laws even for things that are to be placed forever out of the reach of inspectors. Even if they could, they would never just put an artificial restriction on the equipment for when some clueless government inspector wants to do the pre-launch check.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652283)

You know, some of us walk around with our heads pointing to the sky with a 800cm^2 magnifying glass over us. You insensitive clod!

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 3 months ago | (#47652327)

You know, some of us walk around with our heads pointing to the sky with a 800cm^2 magnifying glass over us. You insensitive clod!

I hope you live in Seattle or Portland. And have some Joo Janta 200 sunglasses and an awfully large Aloe Vera garden.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652295)

If you've got a 25 cm wide head, I guess.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652465)

That means your ass would be 2 pixels. Put your best pixels out for Google.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 3 months ago | (#47652623)

But the CSI folks will be able to zoom in on that one pixel far enough to see your DNA.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 3 months ago | (#47653025)

"doesn't that mean my entire face would be 1 pixel large?"

Americans have much larger faces, even their centimeters are 2,54 larger.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653265)

best comment so far.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (4, Interesting)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 3 months ago | (#47653091)

This. Ridiculous, fearmongering flamebait from Slashdot, something this site is increasingly becoming associated with.

You know what Slashdot's editors want us to be terrified of the privacy implications from? Something significantly lower-resolution than existing aerial photos like this image [knoxcountymaine.gov] .

Download the image, and measure the length of runway 3/21 in pixels from threshold to threshold. (Approx. 6341 pixels.) Figure out how long it should be at 25cm per pixel. (4876 pixels.) Scale the image appropriately (7500 pixels wide.) Zoom in to 1:1 resolution onscreen.

Now, are you terrified? No? Nor am I. Want to confirm I'm right about the scaling? Find a car and measure the length: it should be about 20 pixels, or 500cm for a typical full-sized US car. (I tried one, and the first one I tried was exactly 20 pixels.)

So no, I'm not scared. What I am is mildly amused that the myth of satellites that can read newspapers from space still exists. That, and surprised that imagery this (still relatively) low-resolution was ever off limits in the Internet age. And a bit disgusted that a supposed nerd site insults the intelligence of nerds who know far better, this readily.

I really should stop coming back here.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (1)

nosfucious (157958) | about 3 months ago | (#47653169)

Think I am going to start wearing hats more often now.

Re:but... my face is smaller than 25 cm? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653217)

What a bunch of faggots slashdot editors are. They know not everyone knows how large 25 cm is (this IS a USA based site, after all), but in an attempt to appear hip and "above it all", they don't even give a conversion. They attempt to show they assume everyone knows, or SHOULD know, when in fact they know not everyone does.

Knob-gobbling, own-fart-smelling, pirate smoking Slashdot editors.

See your face...where your face is a single pixel (1)

DarkSkiez (11259) | about 3 months ago | (#47651489)

...If you are fat.

25 cm resolution (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 3 months ago | (#47651491)

Your face will occupy all of one quarter of a pixel 25cm x 25cm. Good luck seeing your face from satellite. It is high res. But not so high as to see a face.

Re:25 cm resolution (5, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 3 months ago | (#47651541)

The average human head is 14.5cm x 23cm x 20cm, so you are quite correct that it would mean that the average human head would occupy less than 1 pixel regardless of which axis it was observed across.

The largest recorded human head was 15.9cm x 25.5cm x 23.9cm, meaning that said person could require a second pixel, if they were observed in the appropriate axis.

It is important to note that if a person was observed laying down on the ground, they would occupy *up to* 10 pixels in the case of the world's tallest person, but the average would only require 6.

Re:25 cm resolution (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47651605)

It'd be like first pass downloading interlaced porn from the BBS days...

For those that don't know what I'm talking about... [xkcd.com]

Re:25 cm resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653329)

More like the squint trick, so it appears less blurry.

Re:25 cm resolution (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47651679)

except the St. Google has purchased are capably of much finer detail, ans they are lobbying to relax the regulations even more. If they are successful, then Google's Sats can see you face.,

Re:25 cm resolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651819)

Sure they can. First, they have to convince me to go outside. Then, they have to convince me to look up. I understand that their satellite may not be directly overhead and can get an angled view, but still - they will get pictures of the top of a lot of people's heads. I guess there will be a brisk market in tinfoil hats with a middle finger being shown on the top.

Re:25 cm resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652195)

Can't they just launch from another country? I mean, space doesn't belong to the US gov.

Re:25 cm resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652481)

It doesn't? When did we give it up?

Re:25 cm resolution (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 months ago | (#47651717)

The average human head is 14.5cm x 23cm x 20cm, so you are quite correct that it would mean that the average human head would occupy less than 1 pixel

I'd argue a little differently, that pixel is primarily made up of your face/head (>50%). It's probably good enough to tell your skin or hair color, depending on angle.

It is important to note that if a person was observed laying down on the ground, they would occupy *up to* 10 pixels in the case of the world's tallest person, but the average would only require 6.

He'd be up to 10 pixels long. Actually 11 pixels, if you don't restrict yourself to tallest living person. But I'm guessing he's more than 10 inches wide, so I expect around twice the area except maybe the top pixel for the head. And more if you stretch out your arms, say two more to each side. So more like 1 (head) + 2*5 (body, legs) + 2*2 (arms) = 15 pixels, not 6.

Re:25 cm resolution (1)

darkain (749283) | about 3 months ago | (#47653035)

So you're telling me that a Final Fantasy 1 sprite on the NES is still exceedingly more detailed than a human being captured using this system? Cool, we're good!

Re:25 cm resolution (1)

bruce_the_moose (621423) | about 3 months ago | (#47651749)

Low res hasn't prevented people from seeing a face on mars [nasa.gov] .

Re:25 cm resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651879)

While seeing your face is a bit grandiose, back when I worked on ARGUS-IS we were doing all kinds of fancy subpixel feature detection.

Re:25 cm resolution (1)

rastos1 (601318) | about 3 months ago | (#47653563)

How big area of pixel is needed to reconstruct sound [slashdot.org] ?

And with face-recognition... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651495)

Using the Street View face-recognition technology, they can blur the face of anybody looking up at the time of capture, for privacy reasons. Hooray!

Re:And with face-recognition... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#47651759)

With 25cm resolution, they'll have problems doing anything but blurring everyone's face.

nope... can't see my face yet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651503)

My face is 24x14cm. Smaller than the 25cm imaging resolution...

Street view... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 3 months ago | (#47651533)

...well, they can already see your Blurred face (or dog, incredibly enough) from any street anywhere. But from outer space, at least I'd have several layers of atmosphere, clouds and whatnot to protect my pretty limbs from prying eyes in the sky.

Have you seen the weather data you can download freely? It's available from a satellite near you (or an internet site, if you don't have a clue like most people...yes they don't have a clue). The resolution, (high res MAP) is terrible. Why? Ever heard of atmosphere? It's so thick you won't be able to make out anything in detail, what you see at google Maps...is in fact as good as it gets, not kidding!

Re:Street view... (4, Informative)

ShaunC (203807) | about 3 months ago | (#47652109)

A lot of what shows up on Google Maps, especially in larger metro areas, has been photographed from planes. They're only up on nice VFR days, so there's no atmosphere in the way. Better resolution satellite stuff from Digital Globe will be nice to see, but aircraft will continue to dominate the commercial aerial imagery sector for quite awhile.

Our they could use Planes (3, Insightful)

Flyskippy1 (625890) | about 3 months ago | (#47651543)

They could get better and better satellites with higher resolutions, and continuously lobby the US government to allow higher resolutions to be released.

Or they could use planes, and StreetView cars... Like they currently do.

Re:Our they could use Planes (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about 3 months ago | (#47651715)

The planes imagery is what the western world gets already.

This would be a great benefit to more remote areas however.

Re:Our they could use Planes (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 months ago | (#47652535)

Does Google actually even own satellites, or are they just buying imagery from someone?

Re:Our they could use Planes (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 3 months ago | (#47652753)

They have (or had) a mostly exclusive contract with GeoEye for one of their satellites, though the US government held priority over that in case they needed access to the imagery.

Google recently purchased SkyBox, and so may soon be launching its own constellation of smaller satellites. These will reportedly have high-res video capabilities, so it may be possible to watch traffic (or other things) moving in real- or near-real time.

Re:Our they could use Planes (2)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about 3 months ago | (#47652639)

Commissioning ariel photography is very expensive, is only done occasionally rather than continuously, and Putin would take a very dim view of you flying your plane over his army that he says isn't even there.

Re:Our they could use Planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652707)

We need a law for whenever some anti-Russia dope manages to bring Russia / Putin into the conversation. A variation of Godwin's Law.

Re:Our they could use Planes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652671)

If the government is removing the restrictions that tends to indicate they already have access to even better satellite imagery capabilities. When that plane disappeared a few months back they probably had enough evidence to locate the crash but could not publish the information without revealing their true capabilities.

Face from Space (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 3 months ago | (#47651567)

i saw what you did here. starting a haiku?

2x the resolution? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 3 months ago | (#47651639)

Or 4x the resolution (a 50cm square being 4x as large as a 25cm square)?

Re:2x the resolution? (0)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47651787)

Resolution is measured linearly, not quadratically.

Re:2x the resolution? (1)

gavron (1300111) | about 3 months ago | (#47652003)

No. It isn't. That's why there are two dimensions to it.

X x Y (see, two dimensions). That's not linear. OP is right. 25cm is 4x the resolution of 50cm.

E

Re:2x the resolution? (0, Flamebait)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47652135)

Saying it doesn't make it so, [wikipedia.org] , Googletard.

Re:2x the resolution? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 3 months ago | (#47652007)

Resolution is measured linearly, not quadratically.

Why? The surface of the Earth is two-dimensional (three, if you want to be picky), not one-dimensional.

Re:2x the resolution? (-1, Flamebait)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47652157)

"Why?"

Because that's what it means [wikipedia.org] , perhaps? Are you in the habit of embarrassing yourself so forcefully?

Re:2x the resolution? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 3 months ago | (#47652313)

Are you in the habit of being an asshole?

Re:2x the resolution? (0)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47653309)

An asshole at least has a useful purpose. An idiot like you, not so much.

Re:2x the resolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653245)

When I read that, the line "People who live in Phoenix are Phoenecians" immediatly came to mind. I wonder why.

Detail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651653)

25cm is obviously 4 times the detail of 50cm resolution, not twice.

NaNu NaNu Man That Horse Was Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651661)

Ork has lost its greatest ambassador today.

Re:NaNu NaNu Man That Horse Was Good! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651777)

...and for those of you not up on your 70's TV shows, Robin Williams committed suicide.

Re:NaNu NaNu Man That Horse Was Good! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651801)

70s' not 70's, unless it only ran in 1970. And by fact, should be '70s', muhahaha.

At this rate... (1, Insightful)

thieh (3654731) | about 3 months ago | (#47651731)

Privacy will be a thing of the past in no time. The only matter is when do we reach the point of no return.

Re:At this rate... (-1, Troll)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 3 months ago | (#47651771)

Privacy will be a thing of the past in no time. The only matter is when do we reach the point of no return.

Start living honest lives...

Re:At this rate... (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 3 months ago | (#47651911)

What kind of honest lives? We probably can't rule out the possibility that they can, in the future, tape your sex act at home from all the way in space. So in that case we should stop having kids then? That would get rid of most of the human race pretty quick

Re:At this rate... (3, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | about 3 months ago | (#47651957)

What kind of honest lives? We probably can't rule out the possibility that they can, in the future, tape your sex act at home from all the way in space. So in that case we should stop having kids then? That would get rid of most of the human race pretty quick

Thinking sex between consenting people is dishonest, shameful and/or immoral has led to many of the draconian laws on the books today.

Re:At this rate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652529)

What kind of honest lives? We probably can't rule out the possibility that they can, in the future, tape your sex act at home from all the way in space. So in that case we should stop having kids then? That would get rid of most of the human race pretty quick

Who would be embarrassed that they had sex in their own home? Everyone understands that most people have sex. When anyone can be outed for doing something most people do, most people will be unable to hold it against others. People can handle the idea that humans have sex. Laws against popular drugs will no longer be workable. If any politician who says "X is bad" knows a video of them or their family doing X may appear at any time, they will not say it.

Re:At this rate... (1)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | about 3 months ago | (#47652177)

Privacy will be a thing of the past in no time. The only matter is when do we reach the point of no return.

Start living honest lives...

Yeah, but isn't it pretty creepy that it could be relatively soon when your nosy neighbor (and by that I mean anyone that knows your address) will be able to stalk you from their basement? In 75 years we have gone from the first satellite images to them being commercially available and nearly real time (at least daily). In another 75 years, it seems plausible that there will be near real time video of most of the populated world. It's going to happen for military purposes, so we might as well accept it into society. That's a bit unsettling. Nearly everyone is pissing off somebody at any given time. We're all gonna have to chill out a bit.

Re:At this rate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652189)

"Applying to be allowed to use higher res" mean some one already has the capabilities but the govt is artificially reqtricting access. Stop worrying about google and worry about those that already have the images......

At this rate... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653121)

aerial imagery will never be a problem as these are static snapshots. They don't show anything private and the current rate of 1fpa (frames per annum) depending on region they don't yield enough data for anything unless you have really bad luck doing something really dumb and one datapoint is enough.

The resolution in time is so much worse than everything else that is collected about you that people who want to invade your privacy use other sources and then point a satellite to the location they want to watch. You are tracked by mobile, financial transactions, traffic cameras and everything is reported in real time and apparently "nobody" cares.

Re:At this rate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653215)

Privacy will be a thing of the past in no time. The only matter is when do we reach the point of no return.

I know right? btw: one of the cameras in your bathroom, toilet cam #1, is starting to get a little shaky. We'll send someone over to adjust or replace it tonight, don't worry we'll let ourselves in.

MH17 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651811)

So, can we get the "evidence" now?

Sensationalist reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651869)

This sort of nonsense sensationalist reporting belongs on CNN not slashdot - you will not be able to make out any feature's of a persons face on any of the imagery, as the deatil level will be 1 pixel per face.

Japanese porn... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47651939)

...is shot from space?!!

4 times? (1)

iwasacoward (775077) | about 3 months ago | (#47651947)

Isn't it 4 times as detailed?

Google already has high-res imagery (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 3 months ago | (#47652089)

Google and other online map-providing companies supplement satellite imagery with aerial photography, and as far as I know, there are no limits on that sort of thing.

Twice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652103)

Twice as detailed, or 4 times as detailed?

Google Street View (1)

onproton (3434437) | about 3 months ago | (#47652107)

can see my face from inside my house.

Umbrella (2)

johnslater (61055) | about 3 months ago | (#47652145)

And we're done.

Evil doer? (0)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 3 months ago | (#47652181)

The company whose boss said I should not expect privacy on Internet will soon have satellites. What could go wrong?

Indeed with 25cm resolution they cannot recognize people, but they can still track their movements. And combined with data from smartphones, identifying someone gets easier.

Re:Evil doer? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652561)

The company whose boss said I should not expect privacy on Internet will soon have satellites.

That is not what he said. Here is the quote:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,"

This was in December 2009, as China's efforts to read dissident's emails were coming to light. There is a reasonable chance that he knew what Snowden told us. I think this was a warning.

My White Naked Ass (0)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47652297)

is much bigger than 25 cm. I am very happy that they will be able to see it clearly.

So don't look up (2)

ignavus (213578) | about 3 months ago | (#47652613)

I always walk around outside looking at the ground (don't like the sight of moving people).

Google isn't going to film my face from space - at least, not until they cover the ground with mirrors.

Sure (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47652659)

Pay no attention to the Google street view vehicle that captured your dong. Or at least, some dong. [google.com] To be fair though, there are probably a lot of dongs on that street.

Is your face a rectangle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47652665)

If your face is a single color rectangle (one pixel at 25 cm resolution) than, sure the satellite can see your "face".

No need for a Satellite... (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 3 months ago | (#47652737)

Google Street View cars are doing a great job so far:
http://mashable.com/2013/06/10... [mashable.com]

what about radio spectrum? (1)

strstr (539330) | about 3 months ago | (#47652745)

uh do people realize these satellites have interferometry, and can image other spectrums and act as passive radar, not just in the light spectrum? this allows the satellites to technically image your pee hole and butt holes from space. yet the government and corporations simply refuse to state it, only to shield our fragile little brains from the knowledge of privacy violation.

so yeah they imaging our faces, like they image our books, and as they record us masturbating under cover of a building thanks to all the backscatter and radiation and bodily radiation emissions that's on the surface lighting us up even through matter and clothing and buildings. yeah it's pretty effective at imaging our bodies and brains, too.

http://www.oregonstatehospital... [oregonstatehospital.net]

And the physical limit of resolution is???? (1)

Air-conditioned cowh (552882) | about 3 months ago | (#47652811)

Just wondering. If the resolution limit is imposed by a restriction, then what would a satellite be able to do if the only limitation was technological?

I remember seeing a documentary about leaked details of satellites that could read the headlines off a newspaper in the early 1970s, but they would have had very low orbits and didn't stay up long, mainly because they would run out of film.

Re:And the physical limit of resolution is? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47653047)

From low orbit, about 25cm is reported for military satellites. Maybe a little better. DigitalGlobe is now at 41cm. Reading newspaper headlines from orbit is unlikely. If the military satellites were doing that well, there would be little reason to fly recon drones or aircraft.

Once you can recognize vehicles, weapons, and troops from orbit, more resolution doesn't help much militarily. The next step, which is where DigitalGlobe is going, is more frequent imagery, and wider fields of view and more downlink bandwidth without giving up resolution. Digital Globe says they collect 3 million km^2 of imagery per day. That's only 0.6% of the earth's surface.

Re:And the physical limit of resolution is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653507)

By taking a lot of images of the same spot with small time/angle deltas and at different wavelengths, you can push the limits on resolution. It can also help to filter out atmospheric blurring.

Better with drones (1)

PC_THE_GREAT (893738) | about 3 months ago | (#47653077)

Hmm i wonder if they could use multiple autonomous solar powerred drones to give much finer details.

Blackadder (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#47653175)

Some sort of hat is probably in order.

commercially available satellite imagery up to 25 cm resolution

If you have a huge face, at least.

50cm limit was on selling, not taking photos. (2)

Moskit (32486) | about 3 months ago | (#47653237)

AFAIK this limit was for _selling_ photos commercially, not for taking them. Those satellites could already take photos at higher resolution (25cm or better), they just had to be provided to USA government and noone else.
50cm images sold commercially were probably upsampled from 25cm photos anyway.

Limit was also only applicable in USA (obviously), and was changed to allow USA companies to compete with rest of the world as technologies advance.

25cm resolution (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 months ago | (#47653397)

Oh no! That pixel representing the 25x25 area of my face will violate my privacy so badly if I happen to look up at the wrong moment!

Beards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47653509)

So, we'll now be able to see their ugly, tall beards from space.

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