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.