The new big update from Google Maps

The new big update from Google Maps

Photo by United States Geological Survey / Satellite image USGS Orthophoto

Google Maps just got a new update that is both really awesome and borderline creepy at the same time. The company is now using new imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 observation satellite for Google Maps and Google Earth. The news has been announced by Program Manager Chris Herwig in a blog post, reads an article on The Huffington Post.

But what does this mean? Basically it means a much crisper imagery on the “satellite” function of Google Maps, the one which shows locations as they are in real life.

And the differences are quite substantial. The Huffington Post compared a screenshot of the top of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago using the old version of the Google Maps app on Android of a new screenshot from the new and improved desktop version. The new image turned out to be brighter and more detailed, and in the second one you can even see little roof details, down to folds in a tarp.

Chris Herwig wrote in his blog post: “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.”