Google has just announced on their Google Lat-Long blog that they have acquired ImageAmerica – a company that builds high resolution cameras for the collection of aerial imagery. Google previously used imagery from ImageAmerica in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Other than that, I’m not aware of any contracts or affiliation between the two companies. All they state in the announcement is:
We’re excited about how ImageAmerica’s technology will contribute to our mapping services down the road. Since we’re in the research and development phase right now it may be some time before you see any of this imagery in Google Maps or Earth — we’ll keep you posted on this blog!
ImageAmerica was based in Clayton, Missouri and reportedly had patented camera technology and automatic image processing technologies for producing orthographic photography (photography good for use in Google Earth and maps). I’m trying to get some more details from folks in the industry, and will add to this post if I get them.
[UPDATE July 22 - Adena Shutzberg of AllPointsBlog has some interesting speculations about the acuisition.]