Another Huge Imagery Update for Google Earth / Maps – October 3, 2006

[UPDATE: I’ve rewritten this story based on new information from Google]
Google just released all new aerial and satellite photos for Google Earth and Maps today. They just had a big update to the database less than a month ago on 9-September. This is amazing! Here’s a summary from their announcement at the GEC:

  • the entire states of Minnesota, South Carolina, North Dakota, Missouri (updated to 2005), Idaho, Maryland, and now full coverage for the entire state of Texas
  • Updates to Florida (most of the state covered now)
  • 15 high-resolution cities in Germany
  • update for London, 2006 data at 10cm from Bluesky
  • South Georgia Island (courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey)
  • Albany, OR; Lubbock, TX; Port Townsend, WA; Portage County, OH; Trumball County, OH
  • 32 Digital Globe Citisphere cities (updates and new coverage)

The digital globe data has been updated as well. This means there are new strips of satellite photos all over the planet. I’m sure reports will begin flooding in about new places covered. I noticed a lot of new strips in Africa for example.

From my earlier report this morning:
I had a report from GEB reader Geoffrey that Ann Arbor, Michigan had some new aerial or satellite photos in Google Maps. I confirmed there was new imagery on the west side in Google Maps, but not Google Earth. Just now, I discovered Google Earth got the update as well. I also just received word that London has new photos, and have confirmed that the London photos have much better quality photos (at least in the area of the London Eye).

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. Montreal is finally cloud-free!

  2. Mexico City also appears to be updated (though not noticeably better)

  3. From a quick look at least St.Petersburg (Russia) and Barcelona (Spain) got updates.

  4. Still missing lots of England. Only 10 miles west of London is low res

  5. Anonymous says:

    Bermuda used to have lots of good imagery. There’s now a big blur right through the middle of the island. One big step backwards.

  6. Looks like most if not all of Minnesota is finally high-res, although it’s not VERY high-res; I’d guess it’s about 1-2 meter resolution. So it doesn’t show any more detail than the USGS aerials, but it’s in color and much newer.
    No such luck for Oregon….

  7. David LArso says:

    Dublin seems to have been updated.

  8. Trinidad got some new satellie photos as well.
    I’m still trying to figure out exactly how old the satellite photos are (does it vary?), and how often are they updated (if ever?).

  9. Good to see Lubbock getting the coverage it deserves!

  10. No updates for Chennai(Madras), India as of this post. Of course, it doesn’t use Digital Globe imagery.But I did notice something new, though. When I opened GE,there was a message about using SketchUp like, “Do you want to see your house in 3D? Blah..Blah…go to this link”
    No thanks, I prefer higher resolution!

  11. Dunkleosteus says:

    There seems to be some new coverage over the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. Unfortunately Krakatau volcano is still a sub-standard green smudge.

  12. Dunkleosteus says:

    Mount Olga west from Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) is now hi-res.

  13. I’d love to know exactly when the London photos were taken – it’s either early morning or late evening, so the shadows are long and there doesn’t seem to be many people around, but there’s a huge crowd in Trafalgar Square.

  14. Michael Schaap says:

    Somewhat related: is finally live!
    – Michael

  15. Austria: East of vienna, directly at the border to Slovakia. About 3 new tiles.
    Carinthia (near Italy): the city of Villach now in HiRes!
    Tyrol: Some tiles around Schwaz.

  16. What are the “32 Digital Globe Citisphere cities”? I am not sure what a “citisphere” is.

  17. John Sapyta says:

    How do how do you tell in GE4, that areas are new?

  18. Michael Schaap says:

    > I’d love to know exactly when the London photos were taken – it’s either early morning or late evening, so the shadows are long and there doesn’t seem to be many people around, but there’s a huge crowd in Trafalgar Square.
    Well, the shadows are pointing almost straight to the north, so it should be around midday. The sun is awfully low indeed (long shadows, reddish colors) and the trees are leafless, so it must be close to midwinter.
    – Michael

  19. Michael Schaap says:

    > What are the “32 Digital Globe Citisphere cities”? I am not sure what a “citisphere” is.
    A quick Google helps:
    – Michael

  20. South Pacific: French Polynesia, Mururoa Atoll (French nuclear testing area)
    North Korea: Pyongyang new image with brighter colors

  21. Zapopan, suburbs of Guaadalajara (Jalisco, Mexico), I can now see our new school under construction (I think the set was take around mid-2006) :o)

  22. Ghostface says:

    For the London pics, I can see my new house being built in East London, and Trafalgar Square often has something going on during the weekend. So, I would guess the images were taken during a weekend in January this year.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Part of Punta Cana’s hotel section is now in high-resolution. (dominican republic)
    Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as well.

  24. Looks like Melbourne, Australia has a new update too. Southern Cross Station has it’s roofing on and the MCG is being torn up (or down) before or after the Commonwealth Games…..
    Also – a very stark contrast if you go to Wodonga, Australia – half the town is luscious green and the other half is in the middle of a nasty drought! Amazing….

  25. Vagelis Georgis says:

    Salonica, the 2nd largest Greek City, in hi-res.
    Also Rion-Antirion bridge is there, not the access roads though.
    – Vagelis

  26. Gerry McGarry says:

    > I’d love to know exactly when the London photos were taken – it’s either early morning or late evening, so the shadows are long and there doesn’t seem to be many people around, but there’s a huge crowd in Trafalgar Square.
    Looking at the area around Brick Lane shows that the market is on. I think it is only a Sunday market.

  27. justin flavin says:

    Cork city in Ireland has been updated. In fact a digital globe strip is now in place stretching from Cork northwards to Limerick city.

  28. Athens or other regions of Greece haven’t been updated since almost 2004 (just before the Olympics)
    although Athens belongs to the Citisphere cities, it wasn’t again updated with this latest map update 🙁

  29. They went back to the pre-Katrina imagery around the New Orleans area.

  30. Andy Swanson says:

    The city of Eau Claire wisconsin is now much better resolution than it used to be. And the images are recent. The new highway (completed in August) is visible, as is the construction site of the soon to open Outback Steakhouse (construction started this spring….). Judging from the shadows, the image of my house was taken between 11AM and noon and probably in July 2006.

  31. Joao Castro says:

    Central Portugal now on high-resolution, at last. (with 2006 images) 🙂
    New strip of images has cities like Santarem, Vila Nova de Ourem, Pombal and my home town, Riachos 🙂
    This update was great for Portugal due to the relevance of this part of the country. Major gastronomy and winnery routes are parte of this new update.
    5 stars for GE 🙂

  32. Looks like Mumbai has some better resolution for large area. However some parts have huge cloude cover which was not there earlier. Also Central railway line has appearing in transportation layer. Western railway is missing.

  33. There’s some musings as to when the London pictures might have been taken here:

  34. Looks like parts of Phoenix, Az and surrounding areas have been updated pre-’05’06

  35. The Berlin images have probably been taken on May 7th: The is an American Football game taking place in the Olympic Stadium, which is Berlin Thunder vs. Hamburg Sea Devils (14-38, You can also see the ongoing constructing for an public viewing site for the World Cup in front of the Reichstag (parliament).

  36. Address searching now works in Australia, both in Google Maps and Google Earth. Directions and local search do not.

  37. many cities in Middle Asia are now in high resolution

  38. Madrid (Spain) seems to have been updated with more recent images (about 1 year ago)

  39. Manila, Philippines is one of the 32 CitySphere cities added. The same exact image found here ( can now be seen on Google Maps/Earth. Seamless and cloudless, that’s how I like it. 🙂

  40. marioginetti says:

    Italy: Updated Parma is now complete coverage.

  41. Vienna, Austria, a city with 2.5 million people in the metropolitan area has been quite reasonable until it was updated in October 2005, since then there are clouds everywhere. Google earth keeps on updating the regions east of Vienna, which are amongst the most sparsely populated of the country, but does not uodate the Vienna imagery itself, and the densely populated metro area in the south isn’t shown in high-res at all…

  42. What happened to the new Bridge of Lions in St, Augustine, FL-USA. I used to be able to see the new construction and now it is gone? Why did we go backwards??? Bermuda–Same thing!

  43. Could anyone tell me how can one find out the vintage of Google earth images. The DG coverage icon only indicates that when all the area was imaged again and again by Quickbird satellite. It does not indicate which QB image is being used by GE for showing in the base image.

  44. Is there a listing somewhere of all the cities now available in high resolution?

  45. peteryarmouth says:

    Photos in London taken at different times of the year as Highbury and Emirates stadium are obviously being worked on while Craven Cottage is marked for football.

  46. Dave Wheatley says:

    Does anyone know what the circular features are in Texas, near the New Mexico border? There look to be too many of them, and far too large for real geographical or man made features. They actually look like tree ring and geology samples under a microscope, and many seem to be overlaid on the existing map. Is this some sort of GE hack?, or maybe some weird kind of farming system? Seems unlikely to me. Check out coordinates 32.40.20 N by 102.55.50 W at an eye altitude of 20,000-40,000 feet.

  47. Dave, here is an explanation of the “Weird Circles”:

  48. Dave Wheatley says:

    Frank, Thanks very much for the info. Those irrigation systems must be huge.

  49. NelsonP says:

    Miami Airport. Have you guys noticed half of an airplane on the taxiway at Miami International Airport? That tell you that they have diferents shoots of the same place and then GE put them together.

  50. I live in Cambridgeshire in the UK. The previous version of Google was taken in late late 1999. I know this because we moved into a brand new house that year, and looking at the picture I could clearly see signs of us living there, but the garden had not been turfed. The current version was taken EARLIER that year. Our house is built, but we had not moved in – nothing in the back garden, such as my daughter’s play house, which we bought the day after we moved.
    I guesss the current version is mid 1999, just before we moved in.

  51. when is the map of dominican republic finish because thats the only major island in the Carribean thats not finish

  52. i think you should get closer to the ground! and definitaly redo aiken south carolina. It is missing all the latest developments and the resolution is not very good at all! but i do love looking at all the land! thanks!

  53. Frank – thanks for the explanation of the big ‘weird circles’! That’s funny, I’ve wondered so many times what the heck those are and apparently have never been quite curious enough to look it up.
    As always though, it’s funny what a little change in perspective can do to, well…this won’t sound very profound..but what it can do for one’s perspective!
    Thanks Google Earth!
    p.s. I actually found my new massage therapy office downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Too cool.

  54. I discovered Google Earth got the update as well. I also just received word that London has new photos.

  55. Looks like california has also been updated

  56. I recently looked up the city of Chula Vista, and it has been updated…

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