Imagery Update: Google Earth Using Spot Image Satellite Photos in Europe

[UPDATE 2:30PM ET: Spot Image has released a press release about their multi-year agreement with Google to provide new imagery such as the new data described below.]
Google has updated imagery for Belgium, France, Portugal, and France to use CNES/Spot Image satellite imagery at 2.5 meter resolution imagery instead of the old Terrametrics/NASA 15 meter resolution base imagery. So, in other words the low resolution areas are 6X better resolution. Stefan Geens at OgleEarth got the details from Spot Image:

It covers France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. It is made of imagery from our SPOT5 satellite : 2.5m in resolution. The images are selected from our existing catalog (most recent and cloudfree). They are then combined to make one single uniform image. To cover France, we need roughly 500 SPOT5 images which are of course taken at various date, sunlight, angles, etc…

Stefan also says some new high resolution DigitalGlobe strips are in Belgium. I am quickly researching to see if other areas have been updated in high resolution. Please drop a comment here if you find new imagery.
By the way, this is the first Spot Image satellite imagery in GE I’ve seen. It’s interesting to see Google is expanding it’s source of imagery data to another commercial satellite provider. A few days ago DigitalGlobe‘s newly acquired GlobeXplorer announced it was selling data to Microsoft. And now this happens. Probably just a coincidence, since I’m sure it took more than a few days to implement this imagery.

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.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. David Lenehan says

    do you have any plans in the near future to update maps in ireland? they are very poor at the moment.

  2. Luxemburg, Italy and Switzerland have got some of these spot images, too

  3. The high resolution strip of Brussels is a few months old.
    At the moment there are no new high-resolution strips of Belgium. Only the low-resolution which is fantastic btw.

  4. All of Spain and Balearic Islands has been improved in the “base map” it means where no high resolution images were available before. They have not a vey good quality, you can’t see things as cars but it is easy to see roads, houses, trees, …(as far as I tried different places to check but not 100% of Spain, of course).Places in high resolution has still the same image provider (not this new one Spot image) so it has been used to improve paces with no-resolution.

  5. This new 2.5m SPOT imagery has 6x the linear resolution of the former 15m Landsat-derived data along each of two directions. Each single pixel of 15m imagery is replaced by 36 pixels of 2.5m data. The difference in resolved detail is great, as can easily be seen along the southeastern border of France.

  6. João Castro says

    This is an amazing update for Portugal. 😀
    Altough “Spot” imagery has at least one year old, it seems updated because google hasn’t been updating google maps for a while. And many changes must be made!
    But i think that if “Spot” didn’t take this pictures, no one else would.
    5 stars for GE 🙂

  7. Not very good imagery I must say, but I hope we will get more and better before month is over

  8. Antonio Teixeira says

    Checked areas of Central Portugal that I know well and found the images disappointing in terms of quality, although it is an improvement over previous images

  9. How often are the the maps updated? When can we expect to see the USA updated?

  10. Unfortunately, there is no high-res strips of Waterloo, Belgium. Anyone knows where I could find some???

  11. Ireland photos are very poor. A big disappointment for what is advertised.

  12. Steve Bastable says

    Is there a comprehensive guide anywhere to Google’s planned coverage updates? Have struggled to find one with basic web searching. Specifically, I’m interested in York, UK – England’s second most visited tourist city and still no hi-res images! Any help much appreciated – I plan to create my own maps for use in the tourism industry.

  13. C.F. Richie says

    Why are massive parts of the west coast of the U.S.A. so blurred as to be of no value? If this is considered an improved update of the system, I’d rather have the earlier one back! In the future I recommend that if the update of an area has low resolution, keep the clearer earlier version until a better upgrade can be obtained. This is unfortunate, because Google Earth has been a truly enlightening experience.

  14. Paul MacCullagh says

    Majority areas of Ireland still very poor resolution. What is the criteria for updating imagery i.e., how often and what priorities are in place?

  15. Terry Crofton says

    When are we going to see an improvement in the maps for the Republic of Ireland? We really do seem to be ignored by Google Earth.

  16. John Rolfe says

    I have read several questions about improving the resolution of Ireland imagery, but no answers. Does google answer any question, if so where can I find them?

  17. John Horsfall says

    Although images in England and the Canaries hve been renewed, the area of South Carolina where my son lives is still dated 2005 and his house is still non existant on your images. When is this part of the States to be renewed? Thank you. jaydee

  18. Gerard Willey says

    What happened to the satellite pictures of southern England in Google Earth? Have they been removed? If so, why?

  19. Guys, you do realise this is not a google site…right?
    Loads of people are asking and talking on here about some sort of ireland problem as if it’s these guys who own google earth. This is an unofficial blog.

  20. Sharad Dhope says

    How often are the the maps updated in India? Resolution is very poor in country side. What is the next probable date for next updating of satellite maps?

  21. It would be nice if you guys could provide goodle with newer images from China like this Area:
    Lat 27.910362°

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.