Digital Globe releases first images from WorldView-3

We told you a couple of weeks ago about the launch of DigitalGlobe’s latest satellite, WorldView-3.

On Tuesday, August 18, less than two weeks after its launch, they released the first images from the satellite. Thanks to GEB reader Cesaley Sparks for alerting us to it. The satellite is capable of producing imagery at a resolution of 30 cm per pixel, but because of regulatory restrictions, they have to resample it to 40 cm before releasing it.

Here is a slideshow they created showing what you can see with 40cm resolution.

WorldView-3 40 cm Resolution Examples Madrid, Spain from DigitalGlobe

Digital Globe has also provided a number of images taken around the airport in Madrid, Spain. We have created image overlays in Google Earth which you can download below:
Image 1 (20Mb 4000 x 5000 pixels)
Image 2 (3.8Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 3 (5.2Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 4 (3.3Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 5 (4.5Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 6 (4.2Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 7 (4.6Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 8 (5.3Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 9 (5.4Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)

To my eyes, the image quality looks comparable to what is already in Google Earth at that location, which I believe is aerial imagery captured from aircraft. Although it will always be possible to get higher quality imagery from aircraft than from satellites, the big advantage of satellites is the global coverage and the regularity with which they can capture imagery. Despite the enormous cost of building and launching satellites, it is still considerably cheaper than a global fleet of aircraft constantly taking photos. The data sheet for WorldView-3 states that it is capable of capturing 680,000 km² per day. That seems a lot until you look up the surface area of the Earth and it comes to 510,072,000 km².

Another very interesting fact was that DigitalGlobe managed to capture images of WorldView-3’s launch using another of their satellites, WorldView-1. See the gif animation they made with the images here..

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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. . It is great .. wonderful .. but you said must we waiting 6 months ?! .. very long time .. Second one I wish the imagery for all world not for special places in special countries .

  2. given that roughly 3/4ths of the earth is water, you would only need to cover the land, im not sure exactly of flight paths and land mass locations, but just going by the amount of land on the earth, they could cover every piece of land on the earth almost twice a year.

    • You can’t ‘hurry up’ the satellite over water to save time. The satellite will take about three years to photograph it all and weather will cover most of that up….Useable photography will be as hit and miss as it is now. Go to google earth and check the update box for that day to see what was photoed.

    • The time it would take to cover the entire earth would depend on the width of the swath photographed on each pass; the narrower the strip seen, the more passes it would take. And it might take multiple passes over a given spot before you catch it on an unclouded day. But eventually, the orbit will take the satellite over every part of the Earth between the latitudes the orbit encompasses.


    • I want to know why we always here that they can read the date on a dime from space….. why do we never see this quality….why only the NSA etc etc

    • It is better quality than other ‘public’ satellite photos but not as clear as some google earth places which use airplane photos rather than satellite.

    • ……..not a LIE,
      just ADVERTISING

  4. The old Google Earth images are significantly better than this crap. Either they are lying and feeding us crappy images intentionally or this new satellite is an abysmal failure.

  5. What extraordinary proof that the world is really flat. Very flat. Every photo shows a a landscape that is perfectly flat. I knew everyday of my life: that the world is flat. Yet so many oh-so-educated people insisted it was a globe! Yet every where I walked, drove, or sailed — all around me, nothing but flatness.

    Flatland for sure!

    • That’s what an ant thinks when walking on a large beach ball.
      And on this beach ball – comparatively – you are way smaller than an ant.

  6. What good does it do to have a high level satellite capable of great imagery if all anyone is going to be able to see is the image in the same resolution you are currently putting out. Gee, lets put a camera into orbit that takes awesome photos of the earth and then take those images and blurry them up so everyone can see that we have an awesome camera in orbit. Why are you all tooting your horn over this? What a waste of time and money.

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.