Microsoft vs. Google Imagery Comparison for Sydney, Australia

Comparison of Sydney in Google Earth and Windows Live LocalBack in May Microsoft released new imagery for the UK for Windows Live Local. Google Earth Blog had a story showing a comparison of the new data for a section of London around the London Eye. I suggested then that the Google Earth/Maps base imagery for the area needs some processing, because the imagery looks “foggy”.
I was recently reading reports about Microsoft’s new Sydney, Australia aerial imagery and took a look (Google Maps above, Windows Live Local below in the screenshots here). In this case, the Google Maps/Earth imagery is better processed than the Microsoft imagery. In fairness, both have similar high quality resolution for Sydney (although I think Google’s is a little better). Google’s database of high resolution imagery covers a much greater percentage of the surface of the Earth than Microsoft’s by a large margin at this time. So, just picking major metropolitan areas doesn’t show the whole “picture”. Both of the companies buy their imagery from a variety of sources. As far as I know, Google does very little processing of the imagery it acquires. Some of the imagery in Google is better than Microsoft’s, and vice versa. So, look at both!
You can easily compare the differences between Google Maps and Windows Live Local by using FlashEarth. Look at the Sydney Opera House area here in FlashEarth. Click on “Live Local (no labels)” or “Google Local” to compare the images. Or you can go look at this area of Sydney in Google Earth .

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.

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