Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hi-Res Google Maps Images On the Way

First Image from GeoEye Satellite Released

You may recall about a month and a half ago, it was announced that GeoEye would be launching a satellite with the highest resolution available on the market and would be lending its technology to Google Maps. Today, the first image was released from the GeoEye-1.

"We are pleased to release the first GeoEye-1 image, bringing us even closer to the start of the satellite's commercial operations and sales to our customers," says GeoEye CEO Matthew O'Connell.

The first image is of the Kutztown University campus in Pennsylvania, and was taken at noon on October 7th while the GeoEye-1 was moving north to south in a 423-mile-high orbit over the eastern seaboard of the U.S. at a speed of four-and-one-half miles per second. ReadWrite Web put together a side-by-side look at the GeoEye imagery compared to current Google Maps imagery:

Read Write Web's Side-by-side comparison

That's nothing though. The satellite is capable of achieving .41 meters resolution in black and white and 1.65 meters in color, but government regulations will only allow half-meter images to the public, so those concerned about privacy can breathe a little easiser.

Financially, GeoEye is apparently right where it needs to be. "We are bringing GeoEye-1 into service within four years of our contract award with no contract cost overruns," says GeoEye COO Bill Schuster. "The entire program which includes the satellite, launch, insurance, financing and four ground stations was less than $502 million. That's the amount established and agreed to four years ago." He further noted, "GeoEye-1 is an excellent fit to meet the U.S. Government's important requirements for mapping and broad area space-based imagery collection over the next decade."

GeoEye will be selling imagery products from the GeoEye-1 later this fall.

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