Google has finally pushed the most recently published imagery into the historical imagery layer, so we can find and map out the imagery. We have been aware of new imagery being in the default layer ever since Super Bowl 50, when Google added an image of the stadium captured on 1st February. But other than a few images we came across by chance we did not know how extensive the update was. Even now, we can only map out imagery by date, which means we can be sure that all February imagery is new and we can tell roughly how much January imagery is new by comparing with the map we made in January, but we do not know how much older imagery has been added.
Imagery in Google Earth dated February 2016.
Imagery in Google Earth dated January 2016.
To find the imagery in Google Earth download this KML file. It has been created using the Google Earth plugin and the outlines are only approximate. To spot the actual imagery switch to historical imagery when looking at one of the regions highlighted then switch back and forth between the most recent image and previous images and you will be able to see which images are new.
Cyclone Winston struck the islands of Fiji in the Pacific on February 20th, 2016. There are several images in Google Earth captured a few days later. However, they are poor quality and we have not yet been able to identify any damage caused by the cyclone.
The most interesting imagery we have found so far in this update is actually not recent imagery at all. Google has added a large quantity of aerial imagery of Japan captured not long after the 2011 tsunami. The imagery was added together with some aerial imagery from February 2016 as we mentioned in this post last week on the fifth anniversary of the tsunami. However, the older imagery had not yet been pushed into ‘historical imagery’ at that time so it was inaccessible.
It is well worth having another look at the devastation caused by the tsunami as the new imagery is noticeably higher quality than what has been available until now.
The above image was captured several weeks after the tsunami. You can see an upturned boat (1) amongst the debris more than a kilometre inland. You can also see cleanup operations beginning (2).
For the location of the above image use this KML file, but we highly recommend exploring the whole north eastern coast of Japan. Switch to ‘historical imagery’ and look for the aerial imagery captured in April 2011.
Some of the imagery was incorrectly processed and streaks off into the ocean, resulting in what we see below: