Satellite Image of President Obama’s Inauguration in Google Earth

GeoEye made sure to have a satellite over Washington DC today close to the time of the inauguration of President Obama. The flyover occurred at 1119 ET (about 45 minutes before the oath-taking). I first saw the image on CNN while watching the parade in front of the White House. I was a little worried about the prospects of this shot because there was some high cirrus clouds over DC today. But, GeoEye managed to get a good shot. Here is a a special overlay for Google Earth which overlays the new imagery over the National Mall in DC giving you a same-day satellite photo of a historic event. This is a super overlay – where Google has broken up the image so it can be zoomed in at high resolution. In the image, if you zoom in close, you can see the huge masses of people around the capitol building and all down the National Mall.
GeoEye satellite image of the Presidential inauguration - January 20, 2009 1119 ET
You can also view the GeoEye satellite view at their featured image gallery. Or, you can view the image with zooming capability at CNN. UPDATE, here is a video of the new satellite as it was first shown on CNN last night on a Perceptive Pixel touch screen display using Google Earth:

If you load the link of the image overlay above, you’ll see the same picture in Google Earth yourself. Amazing to get a photo from satellite and see it in Google Earth on the same day. This reminds me of the time in 2006 when the first same day aerial photo was put 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.


  1. Not exactly right…Neither GeoEye nor DigitalGlobe (or any other sun-synch satellite) has any say on whether their satellite will be in the right place on a day like today. It’s purely orbital mechanics–except for slewing far off-nadir to collect an image. Note that both GeoEye and DigitalGlobe imaged the same location at approximately the same time, albeit from different viewing angles.

  2. Ask and ye shall receive. Here’s a regionated full-resolution overlay for Google Earth. Enjoy!

  3. The inauguration ceremony // after party looked like quite a get-together — i’m sorry i missed it

  4. I dont like the resolution (quality) of the image. Resolution is better on the old image. If this is the best what GeoEye can do im not impressed.

  5. Its amazing that this was put up without some censorship, as the removal vans can be clearly seen outside the White House, considering that the White House base image (2002) is older than new (2008)surrounding images.

  6. Please make it clear:
    5 21’05.79N
    74 09’13.34W
    I hope I can enjoy it.
    Thank you

  7. What is the red “X” on the North side of the capitol?

  8. Found this joke about the sat photos of inauguration:

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