Google Earth Blog

Google Maps API Maximum Zoom – Part 4: Continuing the detailed look

We have recently been looking at our map created from the Google Maps API’s Maximum Zoom data:
Google Maps API Maximum Zoom – Part 1: Data collection
Google Maps API Maximum Zoom – Part 2: Overview
Google Maps API Maximum Zoom – Part 3: Starting on a more detailed look
Today we are continuing with the detailed look at specific regions of the world.

East Asia

     Lake Baikal in Russia, shows up in the data as a yellow streak. It has lake floor data from “Data INTAS Project 99-1669”. As far as we know, this lake and the Great Lakes of North America are the only lakes to have floor data in Google Earth. We had never really noticed this lake before, despite it apparently being the largest freshwater lake (by volume) in the world.

     Landsat imagery can be seen as a ‘background image’ in parts of Tibet, North East China, about half of Mongolia and most of Russia.

     CNES/Spot Image data is used as the ‘background image’ for the remaining parts of East Asia.

     Satellite image coverage is quite good for East Asia and steadily improving. The survey of recent imagery we looked at last month showed significant additions of CNES/Astrum imagery in China and the Koreas.

     Aerial imagery can be found in Taiwan and Japan. As we said in our last post, note that 3D imagery is not shown in this dataset. Japan now has a significant amount of 3D imagery, and in the last few days Hong Kong was added. We are not aware of any aerial imagery in Mainland China or either of the Koreas.

South East Asia

     The tropical forests of the Malay archipelago have very poor satellite imagery coverage. More than half the land is covered by the ‘background’ Landsat imagery.

     The continental countries of South East Asia use CNES/Spot Image as their ‘background imagery’.

     The Malay archipelago has quite a lot of false colour or black and white satellite imagery in ‘historical imagery’, most of which is heavily clouded, suggesting that the reason for the lack of high resolution satellite imagery is due to frequent cloud cover.

     The only aerial imagery in this region seems to be a patch covering Manila in the Philippines.

Australia and New Zealand

     Australia and New Zealand have CNES/Spot Image as their background imagery.

     Australia’s high resolution satellite imagery mostly matches the population density, with rather poor coverage over the interior deserts. New Zealand’s coverage is quite good.

          Both Australia and New Zealand have aerial imagery for major cities and they also have 3D coverage, which is not reflected in this data. The aerial imagery varies slightly in resolution, hence the different shades of red. Our dataset did not pick up the very high resolution patches captured for Australia Day in 2007.

In our next post in this series we will look at the Americas.

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.

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