Yahoo! Releases 1m-Resolution Imagery for Entire Continental US

Last night Yahoo! Maps beta released 1-meter/pixel resolution color satellite photos for the entire continental US. This is significant because it is more consistent data instead of the patchwork of varying color, black and white, varying resolution imagery we are used to in other mapping applications like Google Maps/Earth, and Windows Live Local. Yahoo! now has the best medium resolution dataset for the entire continental US.
According to Cartography the initial release of Yahoo’s beta has some problems in that the imagery is too dark when zoomed out. So, while this is an improvement for many areas, Google Earth still has most populated areas in the US (and other parts of the world) at much higher resolution than 1-meter/pixel. In fact, many in GE are at 1-foot/pixel and even 3 inches/pixel. But, a lot of people are going to run there to see if their houses (which weren’t in high res in Google Maps/Earth) are now available at Yahoo! Maps. What I’m hoping is that this will put some pressure on Google to speed up the release of more high-resolution data in Google Earth. For those who enjoy finding planes in flight, there’s a whole US worth of new data – it’s just not in Google Earth. For those in the US who have been frustrated with low-resolution data, this is an improvement.
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About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was released. He worked in 3D graphics for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank left in 2009 to circumnavigate the earth by sailboat as part of the Tahina Expedition.



Comments

  1. It appears that Yahoo! simply colorized the ancient USGS DOQQ database. How does the saying go? You can put lipstick on a pig…

  2. Here’s some interesting comparisons between the new Yahoo! Maps satellite data and Google Maps:
    http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/384357/page/0/vc/1

  3. Product manager from Yahoo! Maps comments:
    http://www.digg.com/technology/Yahoo_maps_to_finally_offer_satellite_images#c1446731
    “I’m glad you like the imagery. I know it’s not the best in all areas, but what we’ve put together is a platform with a baseline that was releasable in the beta. To me (and it was my responsibility to pull the trigger on letting people see it), that meant getting a full coverage USA map with as fresh a set of data as we can find, and support of Y! Maps (the USA version) as well as all of the medium resolution international data. From here, it’s really much easier for us to start pushing in more and better stuff. This gives us an opportunity to fire up the servers in order to improve the performance before we go to GA, get some user feedback, and also not just sit on what we’ve already got processed (and trust me, there has been a lot processed and stacks and stacks of disks more to go. :-) ) We have a commitment to go forward and continue to put more and more in. Even though we don’t have the very high res online yet for the USA, and we don’t have any of our high resolution international stuff, we will be piling on a ton of new imagery in the coming weeks including very high resolution metros and a ton of very nice international stuff.
    I think this is a good start for our users, and I hope you’ll continue to check in on the beta as we make progress and start hitting on all cylinders.
    Thanks!
    Mike
    Michael Lawless
    Product Manager: Yahoo! Maps”

  4. OMFG Are you serious!??@!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????
    That is absolutely crazy. How on earth did they do that???? It takes google so long and it takes yahoo almost no time at all….

  5. I believe Jonathon has it right…
    Compare http://tinyurl.com/ogj9o (Yahoo)
    to http://tinyurl.com/nhm4q (Terraserver USGS DOQQ).
    This is a location in Mt. Pleasant, MI. The large dirt area in the middle of the Yahoo (the upper right in Terraserver) has been built up with apartment buildings for several years now.

  6. Actually, there are places, like Jonathan said, that have been colorized black and white images found in Terraserver. However, there are also areas that are clearly new color photos (near my house the data is about 6 months newer than that found in Google Earth – a restaurant was being built nearby).
    It’s unclear at this point what percentage is colorized old data, and what percentage is all new.
    If you read the Yahoo Maps manager’s comments, he says they tried for new data as much as possible.

  7. They don’t let you zoom in near as much as Google does.

  8. I know in our area, Russell, Ky (Ohio, Ky and WV tri-state area), the yahoo satellite phots are many, many times better than googles. I can zoom in all the way with yahoo, but not with google. And the photos with yahoo are less than a year old, whereas the ones with google are much older. I hope this puts some pressure on google to remember the more rural areas as well as the metro areas.

  9. It’s not working for me right now…must be having problems…or i am :)

  10. This is very interesting. Is it possible to put bookmarks on the Yahoo Map? This is be pretty useful for users who’d like to indicate the location of buildings and structures or people (friends or relatives) staying on different part of the world.

  11. Could not view at all in Mozilla.
    And in IE, there are NO satellite images anywhere near my house.
    I live in Sonoma, CA, north of SanFran … but have plenty of GoogleEarth images.
    I haven’t used much of yahoo! in a very long time and if this expeience is typical, I fcertainly won’t be back in another very long time.

  12. Uses Flash 8 so Linux is out of the game on this site.

  13. Update on the sonoma search … still issues with Mozilla, but finally got IE to display area around my house … earlier issue was probably with the Yahoo! server being slow due to people Digging it …
    Still, my house appears about a quarter of an inch on a side while GoogRth image is about four times bigger and great resolution… Yahoo’s image is too small to be of any use … with GoogRth I can cound the trees, see the sidewalk to the front door etc. .. none possible at yahoo … from that, I’d support David Ogletree’s previous post

  14. I don’t understand why Google and Yahoo don’t support infinite zoom. Let me decide when it

  15. Rosewood says:

    All I know is that for Wichita, KS Yahoo has much better imaging.

  16. Matt:
    http://tinyurl.com/lzr3n
    this is an area near (interestingly enough) Mt. Pleasant, IA. 5 years ago this intersection didn’t exist, it wasn’t even under construction. Today it’s almost completed. I’d age this photo around 1-2 years old.

  17. macewan:
    it works here on my linux machine.

  18. These satellite photos are old… extremely old. My development isn’t even started in this image, and we moved into our house 13 years ago. These images must be at least 15 years old.

  19. The important part here is at least 1m resolution for all the U.S. Google obviuosly beats this is many metro areas, but the imagery in remote areas is vastly superior. Areas that I like to hike in the eastern sierras are now visible in Yahoo where they are just a blur in Google.

  20. Farnsworth says:

    How does anyone know how secure flash 8 is? What are the specs? What information does it give the server? What “features” can I turn off, like no cookies!
    Why do people just think flash is so safe? Did people just go stupid?
    At least with HTML we know what to expect, flash allows these companies to take more control over the situation. The control is now on their end and they are programming your computer from remote, always a bad thing!

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