Google Maps and Earth get a 700-trillion-pixel touch-up

Float above the surface of Google Earth this morning and you may notice that things below look more defined. Your eyesight hasn’t gotten any better. Google has upgraded its satellite imagery, using pictures taken by NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite.

Google Maps and Earth get a 700-trillion-pixel touch-up

The updated mosaic of stitched-together cloudless images is compiled from more than 700 trillion individual pixels. In a blog post, Google points out that’s 70 times more pixels than the estimated number of galaxies in the universe. 

According to Google, Landsat 8 can capture images with “greater detail, truer colors, and at an unprecedented frequency — capturing twice as many images as Landsat 7 does every day”. Landsat 8 launched in 2013. Images captured with the satellite’s previous iteration in 2003 suffered from diagonal gaps of missing data – thanks to a hardware failure

You can look at the updated imagery now, either through Google Earth or by turning on the satellite layer in Google Maps. 

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