Google Maps Adds Satellite Image Technology

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Google Maps Adds Satellite Image TechnologyGoogle "took it up a notch" this past week when they added satellite technology to its already very popular mapping service, Google Maps. The new satellite feature allows users an option to view an aerial photo snapshot of the location for which they are searching in addition to the "general" street maps that we've come to expect.

Google Maps Adds Satellite Image Technology

In a move to outdo competitors, Google "took it up a notch" this past week when they added satellite technology to its already very popular mapping service, Google Maps. The new satellite feature allows users an option to view an aerial photo snapshot of the location for which they are searching in addition to the "general" street maps that we've come to expect.

Satellite imaging company Keyhole, which Google acquired last October, provided the technology that allowed the search giant to launch the new mapping feature. As with most mapping services, users can enter an address and then be able to view the area surrounding their query. Google, a company that is always looking for ways to improve the overall search and Internet experience, has given it's users the option of viewing an aerial photo of their query by simply clicking on a "Satellite" link.

I've personally spent some time playing around with this new feature of Google maps and I have enjoyed it very much. In my opinion, it brings much more to the table than what other popular mapping services, such as MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps, are currently offering. Google's satellite imaging offers several levels of "zoom", one so close that you can actually see inside open-roof ball parks and stadiums, and has an easy "drag and move" type navigation.

Furthermore, the only negative that I've found with using the tool is users aren't able to view small towns or residential areas with the same levels of zoom that you could when viewing cities. When viewing these areas, either the imaging gets a little distorted or Google replaces it with section all-together with a square block that states "You are unable to view this section at the selected level of zoom".

One other interesting bit is that Google plans to integrate this mapping technology with their new beta Google Local Search service. Imagine the possibilities of searching for a business or a type of business, finding it on the web, and then with a click be able to see accurate aerial photos of what the business and its surroundings look like. This is a great idea! Obviously, we knew that this type of aerial-mapping existed and is currently being offered online already. However, what makes Google Maps special is that unlike other aerial mapping services, Google is offering their version for free.

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