Google Earth and Maps get sharper satellite imagery
with new update
Several years ago, Google engineers figured out a way to stitch together satellite imagery to remove clouds, giving Google Earth and Google Maps users a better and more comprehensive view of the ground below. Today, the company has repeated the process, but this time with newer, crisper imagery from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat 8 satellite.
When Google first unveiled its techniques for eliminating from Google
Earth images striped artifacts, clouds and other atmospheric effects, it
was using imagery from Landsat 7.
However, the images Landsat 7 captured after 2003 were affected by a hardware failure that resulted in diagonal gaps of missing data. This was still the best imagery available at the time, though, which forced Google to come up with a means of removing those gaps from Google Earth. It did so by analyzing a large number of images, similar to how it produced this global time-lapse image of the earth.