[UPDATE: 7:56pm EST, 4-March: This appears to be a standard imagery update, and not just focused on Chile. Details at the bottom of the post.]
It appears that Google is doing an imagery update of some kind, but we’re not quite sure the extent of it yet. Thanks to GEB reader ‘David’ for discovering it.
If you look around parts of Chile (Talcahuano, Coronel, part of Concepcion, and Tome and then another tile around Pelluhue), you’ll find newer imagery there. The imagery is very sharp and quite new, but it’s from before the recent earthquakes. Most of it seems to be from September, 2009.
Also of interest is that the Google Maps imagery is already updated as well; we don’t have the typical delay between Earth and Maps to compare what’s new.
So what does this mean? I have two theories, but I’m open to others:
1. This is a routine imagery update that happens to include some imagery from Chile. The last update included some imagery from Chile, also from last September. Are there other places on the globe that have been updated? Let us know if you find any.
2. Google is preparing to release post-quake imagery, and they wanted to provide a more recent base layer for comparison. The imagery for much of Chile was up to five years old, so getting it caught up to 2009 is a solid improvement.
That’s what we’ve got for now. If you find any other updated imagery, please leave a comment and let us know. Thanks!
[[ UPDATED INFO BELOW ]]
As many of you pointed out in the comments, this appears to have just been a standard imagery update. Their methods were a bit different (updating Google Maps immediately) and they’ve released the new Imagery Update KML already. It appears to be a somewhat small update, but still covers portions of many countries around the world. Check it out and see what kind of great stuff you can find!