Google announced yesterday that it has begun rolling out new high-definition satellite imagery of Earth to its Google Earth and Google Maps apps.

The company said it was introducing a new cloud-free mosaic of the Earth's surface made up of high-resolution images taken by Landsat 8, a satellite deployed by the USGS and NASA in 2013.

Google Maps lo res

Google Earth image of New York City before update

Google Maps hi res
New Google Earth image of the same area after update

In a blog post announcing the update, Google explained that the seamless mosaic uses new processing techniques for sharper pictures, and was composed out of a mind-blowing amount of open access digital data:

To produce this new imagery, we used the same publicly available Earth Engine APIs that scientists use to do things like track global tree cover, loss, and gain; predict Malaria outbreaks; and map global surface water over a 30 year period.

Like our previous mosaic, we mined data from nearly a petabyte of Landsat imagery—that’s more than 700 trillion individual pixels—to choose the best cloud-free pixels. To put that in perspective, 700 trillion pixels is 7,000 times more pixels than the estimated number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, or 70 times more pixels than the estimated number of galaxies in the Universe.

Some users are reportedly still seeing old images in the app, and Google hasn't offered a specific timeline for completion of the update, which began on Monday. Users can check the blog post for more images and information on the satellite's history.

Google Maps is a free download from the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

Google Earth is available to download for the Mac here.

Top Rated Comments

djcerla Avatar
77 months ago
Still 9-years old, low definition satellite imagery in my area, whereas Apple maps imagery is sharp, and updated.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jackth29 Avatar
77 months ago
Conversation I was having less than an hour ago:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
341328 Avatar
77 months ago
Truly amazing work. Thanks
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MH01 Avatar
77 months ago
Google maps. Still way ahead of the competition .
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hanser Avatar
77 months ago
In Germany Apple Maps is also far ahead in resolution and actuality. Where I come from I could determine that the picture is from spring 2014, since I could see the fresh grave, covered with flowers, of somebody I knew... Google maps pictures are low rez, washed out and outdated by comparison. Lets see if it improves now.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zwhaler Avatar
77 months ago
This is the best news I've read on here in awhile!
[doublepost=1467112474][/doublepost]
In the future we'll see imagery in real time.
Government/military won't allow it I'm afraid.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...