Ultimate Google Earth Resolution?

The new National Geographic Megaflyover pictures are very high resolution. How high? Well, in this view you can actually see the faces of people in a market where they are selling bicycles, tires/tubes, and many other recognizeable things. The people are looking up at the passing plane which is taking the picture. This photo is of a market near Misasi in Tanzania, and is a very colorful photograph if you zoom out and look at the whole thing.
I’ve set the view at the maximum zoom GE will allow. This shows the potential maximum resolution of the application as it currently exists. These images are actually part of the GE primary database now, you don’t even have to have the National Geographic layer turned on to see them. The only comparable pictures I’ve seen to date are the shots of the Google Inc. Campus in California as seen in this article where I show a ladder on their roof.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. WOW! absolutely fantastic!

  2. Amazing detail indeed!

  3. bill mcleod says:

    Imagine the whole world at this detail!
    All you need is an unltralight and a camera….
    I wonder if all the Google Earth imagery will
    eventually be shown on Google Maps too?

  4. incredible resolution indeed, it’s only a shame that the pictures are so small that they cover only a tiny part of the african continent – a continent that is woefully under-represented in the GE high resolution areas.
    Mind you, I’m also glad they’ve finally updated some of the areas of the UK. It was terribly embarrasing that Britain’s second city, Birmingham was at the lowest possible resolution. Thankfully that’s been fixed.

  5. Yes, I agree with you that significant places are still not done with adequate resolution. But, Google has been working hard to correct this with updates each month. Google recently posted that they are hiring for people who can manage petabyte databases, so hopefully they will resolve this in the future.
    I’m also hoping they will have higher resolution for island nations in the Caribbean and the south Pacific. Some of the best sailing waters in the world.
    Captain Frank

  6. For years I’ve been patiently waiting for resolution to get better. I hope it’ll happen while we are still arround

  7. George van Zijl says:

    Can anyone tell me what is the resolution (pixel size) or Google Earth images taken by SPOT 5? I know SPOT 5’s resolution is 2,5m, but as I understand it, some detail is lost when they change the image to display true colours. I’ve been using Googe Earth for a research project and need to have a reliable reference for the resolution.

  8. I believe this is an aerial photograph taken from a plane (hence the people looking up at the aircraft since they heard it. That is how they are able to get perhaps 1.5″ per pixel resolution. If you zoom out you can see the actual satellite image which is closer to about 1m per pixel resolution. The max satellite resolution that is commercially available is about 0.6m per pixel. Governments do have access to better though.

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