Google snaps up aerial photo firm

Google has announced that it has acquired ImageAmerica, a company that builds high resolution cameras for taking aerial photographs.

Google snaps up aerial photo firm

ImageAmerica specialises in orthoimagery, a technique that combines the image characteristics of an aerial photograph with the geometric qualities of a map.

So unlike a normal aerial photograph, distortion and relief displacement are removed and ground features are displayed in their true location. This means that the images can be used to make direct measurements of locations, distances, angles, directions and areas.

The company has previously provided Google with high resolution black and white images of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Google had been criticised for not updating its Maps and Earth applications to show the devastation wrought by the August 2005 hurricane.

Google has provided no details of the terms of the acquisition, nor has it said how it will use ImageAmerica technology.

“We’re excited about how ImageAmerica’s technology will contribute to our mapping services down the road,” says Stephen Chau, product manager for the Google Earth and Maps team. “Since we’re in the research and development phase right now it may be some time before you see any of this imagery in Google Maps or Earth.”

Unfortunately the Katrina pictures that ImageAmerica supplied are currently unavailable in Google Earth.

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