Recent imagery updates review

Google has added quite a lot of imagery to Google Earth recently, especially in Australia and East Asia. We have been using the Google Earth plugin to find new imagery. However, we have been having problems because of a bug we have mentioned in the past, which has Google Earth not showing all historical imagery at all zoom levels. It turns out that this affects the timeline as well and if you are zoomed out too far you do not see many of the dates on the timeline. We found that, as of this writing, almost all imagery dated July or August, 2015, does not show when you are zoomed out. For example, if you look at the whole of Europe, switch to ‘historical imagery’ and step backwards through the timeline, it will go almost daily through October and September and then skip straight to June even though there is imagery in Europe from July and August.

Nevertheless, we did manage to map out a lot of new imagery. We have probably missed some, as our system is not perfect due to the problems mentioned above. There is some overlap with the ‘Satellite imagery updates’ layer found in Edition 2 of the Voyager layer. Also, we have only mapped imagery with recent date stamps (July to date) and as you can see from our colour coded version of the ‘Satellite imagery updates’ layer, Google typically releases a lot of old imagery as well as recent imagery. We have no way of finding the older imagery.

California has seen a lot of large fires this year due to the ongoing drought. We already looked at some of the resulting scars using Landsat imagery. Now Google has added some imagery covering another area where a fire known as the Butte Fire took place.


Burnt area from the Butte Fire is clearly visible.

In our coverage of Google Crisis Response we mentioned a map featuring satellite imagery of flooding in South Carolina. Google has since added some of that imagery to Google Earth.


Flooding in Columbia, South Carolina.

On October 2nd there was a landslide in Santa Catarina Pinula, Guatemala. We learnt about it via DigitalGlobe’s ‘First Look’ map.

This year Black Rock City, the site of the Burning Man festival, has only received one image, captured near the start of the festival. In previous years the festival received much better coverage, including the current 3D imagery, which was captured in 2013.

Also visible in the imagery, are:

  • Sarnia Artwalk, an art festival in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
  • Fires in Indonesia similar to ones we already looked at with Landsat imagery.
  • Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, a Balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The image was captured the day after the event ended, so there don’t appear to be any balloons in the image.
  • A new image of the Tianjin crater, showing the area has been cleaned up quite a lot since the explosion.

To see the maps of recent imagery and the locations above download this KML file.

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.



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.