For the first half of 2015, as it has in the past, Google released imagery update maps showing outlines of newly updated imagery. However, in June, it released the Voyager layers, which include a ‘satellite imagery updates’ layer. We believe the change was made due to the deprecation of Google Maps Engine, which is what was formerly used to publish imagery update maps. However, the Voyager layer has only been updated once since June, so we have mostly been relying on the Google Earth API to find imagery updates. See here for our imagery update posts of 2015.
We have used the Google Earth API to create an approximate map of the areas in Google Earth that currently have imagery dated 2015.
To see the above map in Google Earth download this KML file.
The USA, parts of Europe, and Japan got quite a lot of aerial imagery. Most of the rest of the world got satellite imagery concentrated on areas with high population. Interestingly, the southern and eastern countries of Asia got remarkably good coverage.
Also of note, is that Syria and the Ukraine seem to have been added to the list of countries with blanket censorship. There were no satellite imagery updates with imagery dated 2015 in Syria, the Ukraine, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Both Syria and the Ukraine did receive imagery during 2015 but it was dated 2014. It is not Google carrying out the censorship but has most likely been done by buying rights to the imagery from the satellite imagery providers. The censorship in Ukraine was implemented long after the conflict there started and we have seen imagery taken after flight MH17 was shot down over the Ukraine. The most recent imagery appears to be from November 2014. At the same time, the Ukraine got Street View in October 2015, so although it is censored from above much of it is now more visible from ground level.
It must be noted that Google has not yet added any December imagery, and in general Google’s imagery updates often include imagery of various ages, so the amount of imagery dated 2015 will increase with time.