New Satellite Imagery of Town Destroyed by Tornado

Greensburg, Kansas destroyed by tornado in Google EarthDigitalGlobe has recently acquired a satellite photo of Greensburg, Kansas – the town which was destroyed by an F5 tornado last Friday night (see news reports).

DigitalGlobe is the main provider of satellite photos Google uses for Google Earth. Someone at Google has quickly processed the Greensburg photo for viewing with GE. In order to make the photo available right away, they have posted this KML file at the GE Community forum. Once loaded, you will see the image begin to load. Zoom in for more detail. The KML file includes both a before and after version of the imagery (since the base imagery is lower resolution). The “after” photo (taken on May 7th) shows just how devastating this tornado was…it’s awful! I see over 50 blocks which appear to be totally destroyed. Practically the entire town really was destroyed. Hopefully the photo will be of use to rescue workers. But, at this stage, it may be more important that this help accelerate aid to the citizens of this town who were obviously the victims of a terrible natural disaster.

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. danescombe says:

    hi frank
    im having trouble seeing the greensboro images –it may be my network connection ?? — but can you check
    many thanks

  2. Tybois Uphold says:

    I am having a similar problem as well. The picture goes back to the pervious blurry version then reloads and going close-up and moving is very slow. Rest of Google Earth runs just fine, no problems.

  3. smokeonit says:

    damn, this town was hit hard… the path of destruction is about 1km(.6miles) wide. i have never seen anything like this… must have been hell to go through this;-(

  4. Apparently smokeonit missed that whole Katrina thing.

  5. I see a football field below, looks like the tornado was about 700 yards across, thats a big wedge.

  6. Wow! We just came thru your town on the way back from Arizona …. and we couldn’t imagine the devastation. What first clued us in was the strange (?) trees & THEN the RED CROSS & Hospital headquarters. However, it looks like you are working hard to clear the debris & move one. Our best wishes for a better year in 2008.

  7. Does anyone know what website to go to in order to find out how they plan to rebuild this town?

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