Recent Aerial Photo Updates: Chicago, Canary Islands, Japan

Google adds new content to the satellite and aerial photos for Google Earth every few weeks. During the last couple of weeks several new areas were updated:

  • Meigs Field Chicago in Google EarthSome areas of downtown Chicago were updated. Meigs Field , the former location of the default Microsoft Flight Simulator airport, is seen to no longer look like an airport and the transition to a park is well on its way. The mayor of Chicago should have been fined for breaking contract with the government and closing the airport a few years ago. Note: although the photos in Chicago seem to be newer, the quality is worse than the last batch.
  • The Canary Islands – The update to these islands seems to have been a bit of a disaster. Apparently a local aerial photography company called Grafcan managed to get a contract with Google to supply Canary Island photography. The data they supplied was reportedly taken in 2002 (yet the Digital Globe photography it replaced was newer). The aerial photo coverage of the islands is certainly better with the new Grafcan data. But, according to local environmentalists the government is trying to hide recent developments with the older photos. Not only that, but Grafcan’s images have been censored (a military base is blanked out). These issues have been covered quite well at OgleEarth here and here.
  • There are also reports that new aerial photos have been added to parts of Japan.

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. Fernando C. says:

    What are you talking about? the canary islands update is the best!! better even that on the rest of spain!! but if we can see even the waves on the beach!! with more resolution

  2. Joeynach says:

    Not just chicago was updated. I work for a civil engineering company in chicago and these aerials are the 2005 ones we have been using for over a year. Google Earth has updated the entire 6 county chicago region from here:
    That site stores all the files on a University of Illinois server. The photos are the official 2005 Chicago Urban area orthophotos and made public by the Illinois natural resources department. These photos are from Mar-Apr 2005 and 1 foot by 1 foot resolution. We have been using them for some time for our roadway design projects.
    A few notable changes in these early 2005 photos is the completion of the new terminal at Midway airport, the new roof at US Cellular Field (white sox stadium, and the new park where Meigs Field used to be.

  3. philgross says:

    The most striking thing with the updated Chicago images is that they finally show Millennium Park in its mostly-completed state, including Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge, as well as Crown Fountain. Unfortunately, Cloud Gate was still being refinished. see
    Previously they were just showing a big dirt hole in the ground where the pavilion would go, and nothing else.

  4. Roberto Iza says:

    Thanks for the information!
    I can’t go to the Canary Islands today. But I sure
    can Google my way there right now!

  5. Mike Magliane says:

    Downtown Chicago has a stunning architectural area called Millennium Park, near 55 N Michigan Avenue. Although the construction has been finished for years, the satellite pictures still show pre-construction “dirt slabs”, even though the picture copyrights are dated 2007. How does one get updated satellite picture for that portion of Chicago?

  6. Carlos A. Penate says:

    I think am missing something here, Chicago’s images are old and very out dated. The same goes for my home town Miami, Fl. I would be a paying costumer if those images would at least be two years old. Goggle Earth had a great idea but they have drop the ball…

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