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GeoEye-1 Satellite  (Source: GeoEye Inc.)
Google will be exclusive online map service to use images from new satellite

Satellite imagery is used for many different reasons today from mapping and fun to military analysis and more. As more satellites are launched and new technologies are released, satellite imagery is getting better with each new satellite put into orbit.

GeoEye Inc. is getting ready to launch a new satellite that will be able to take images form orbit with a resolution of 0.41 meters in black and white and 1.65 meters in color. Current government regulations limit images being offered to the public to a resolution of a half-meter. The color resolution the satellite will offer is the highest in the market.

The resolution limitation is partly because the U.S. government fears the amount of information that can be found in satellite images on services like Google Earth.

Google will be the exclusive online map website to use the images taken by the GeoEye-1 satellite. The launch of the satellite was postponed in April and has been rescheduled for September 4. The total cost to build GeoEye-1 was $502 million according to Reuters. The satellite will be launched into orbit onboard a Delta II rocket.

GeoEye's Mark Brender says that while the Google logo will be on the side of the rocket and Google will be the exclusive user of the images in the online space taken with the satellite, Google has no financial involvement in the satellite.

Google says that it will have half-meter resolution images from the GeoEye-1 satellite 45 to 60 days after launch. Google's Kate Hurowitz told Reuters, "The combination of GeoEye's high-resolution, map-accurate satellite imagery from GeoEye-1 and Google's search and display capabilities provides users with access to rich, interactive visual image maps of the Earth."

Google also gets satellite imagery from another GeoEye satellite called IKONOS and from GeoEye rival Digital Globe.

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Not quite true
By Shadowself on 9/2/2008 1:02:18 PM , Rating: 5
Current government regulations limit images being offered to the public to a resolution of a half-meter.

Current rules limit selling of sub 0.5 meter imagery during the first 24 hours after capture. Then may, or may not limit open sales after that 24 hour mandatory period. The is no long term, blanket prohibition on sales of sub 0.5 meter imagery.

RE: Not quite true
By foolsgambit11 on 9/2/2008 2:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
I think current laws don't even make the 24 hour rule a blanket prohibition. They just say that the government has the right to establish limiting parameters for a commercial satellite operator based on National Security requirements. In other words, the exact requirements could vary from satellite to satellite. But current practice places the limit at 0.5m.

And aren't all U.S. satellite operators prohibited from distributing even 1 meter imagery of Israel, or did that get repealed?

RE: Not quite true
By Shadowself on 9/2/2008 3:09:50 PM , Rating: 2
Laws, regulations and rules are three different things. The 24 hour period is not in any law.

The rules are effectively agreements written into operating licenses. Remember these satellite operators need to get licensed by two separate agencies: the FCC and NOAA. The NOAA license gets reviewed every year. Play by the rules agreed to in your license or risk getting the license killed every year. The details of the licenses are held *very* closely whether it pertains to the 24 hours for sub 0.5 meter imagery or anything to do with Israel -- or for that matter how to deal with the international agreement that an operator must sell to any government imagery taken within their territory. You can imagine how the various governments might not want that to be handled too quickly.

RE: Not quite true
By RMSe17 on 9/2/2008 5:56:11 PM , Rating: 4
All we need is an imaging program from a company that is based in another country, such as Russia. They probably will not have such silly limitations on areas of the world such as USA.

RE: Not quite true
By iVTec on 9/5/2008 8:47:57 AM , Rating: 2
And then we won't be able to see Russia at all :P

By psychobriggsy on 9/2/2008 1:49:43 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder how long it would take to take such hi-res imagery of the entire planet (well, the areas that the satellite orbits, so maybe the poles are out)?

Good for Google though, although it won't replace the aerial photography they use for finer resolution imagery, but which gets out of date rapidly. But often is updated before Google update some of their roadmap information. Just recently I was looking at a Google Maps result which had old roads running through a shopping centre that was built over them a couple of years ago.

Additional limitations?
By foolsgambit11 on 9/2/2008 2:33:55 PM , Rating: 3
So current rules state that U.S. satellite operators can't distribute <0.5m imagery. Are there additional rules that prevent U.S. companies from distributing <0.5m imagery? That is, is Google prohibited from purchasing/licensing foreign satellite imagery <0.5m by U.S. law?

By excrucio on 9/2/2008 12:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
Google will be able to pin point any place they want, they will be able to give us hi-def images from more countries.
Not depending on other imagery satellites from the government.

Good for them. Just don't let a hack control their system and the satellite wont be used for other purpose hehe =]

and in comparison?
By tastyratz on 9/2/2008 2:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
what quality images do we currently have through google maps or other competitive offerings? that resolution means nothing to the uninformed (were not talking megapixles or anything standard for the general public) We need a baseline to compare to (all sats in space currently take a max of xyz, google uses images from sats at abc resolution, etc)
For all I know, its no different than current "high resolution" images in practice.

No matter what satellite Google uses
By dickeywang on 9/2/08, Rating: -1
RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By FITCamaro on 9/2/08, Rating: 0
By EntreHoras on 9/2/2008 5:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's one of Jon Stewart's recurring jokes.

By KaiserCSS on 9/2/2008 12:52:43 PM , Rating: 1
Why the bloody hell would I WANT to see Dick Cheney's home?

Hey, I understand there are people out there with weird tastes, and that's cool and all... but please, keep it to yourself...

RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By omnicronx on 9/2/2008 1:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
I always found that funny, they blur out any area that is considered sensitive.. but doesn't that only help people out in findings objects that are not meant to be found?.. "Hmm a blur in the middle of New Mexico where it appears there is only sand and more sand.. I wonder what it could be..."

RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By vapore0n on 9/2/2008 1:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
Dont worry. If those areas are sensitive, you wont be getting near them anyway.

RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By Topweasel on 9/2/2008 1:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
No that's the point. You basically sit there and pinpoint sensitive areas by instead of Covering it up (or setting up a base underground. You blur it out because its sensitive. Its like taking a marker and drawing an area on the map, writing under it top secret, and then be told by people to ignore it as its unimportant.

RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 9/2/2008 2:09:51 PM , Rating: 3
Well that's easy to fix. Say you are the Government and need 20 blurred out spots. You simply blur out 100 spot on top of your needed 20. Put enough mis-leading spots out there and most of the people will lose interest fast. The others, well security will deal with them (if needed).

By Penti on 9/4/2008 2:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
On aerial photography here in Sweden they just paint some treas to hide details</> of sensitive objects. Or other such things, hiding roads and buildings in the desert by retouching the images should be no problem. But of course they don't retouch satellite images, but it's really about hiding the details of the objects not the existence of say a military building. That's why they don't even need to blur the locations on satellite images, they don't provide the resolution.

By FITCamaro on 9/2/2008 2:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
The point isn't to not let people know where they are. It's so that people can't see any buildings or anything else that might have been on the ground that day.

RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By therealnickdanger on 9/2/2008 2:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
You can't see my house either... They're called trees.

RE: No matter what satellite Google uses
By HeelyJoe on 9/2/2008 5:33:50 PM , Rating: 3
You have trees on top of your house?

By goku on 9/2/2008 11:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
No, what he's trying to say is that he lives in the trees.

By therealnickdanger on 9/3/2008 11:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
You don't?

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