As our regular readers know we maintain a map of areas that have Google’s 3D imagery. We not only track current coverage but also have a timeline. Google has been adding to the area covered with 3D at a fairly consistent rate for the last two to three years. Increasingly, however, the 3D imagery additions are updates to previously existing areas rather than new coverage. These are much harder to track, so we do not know just how much has been updated in this manner. Over the past month or so almost every update has been an update to a previously existing area with only minor extensions and occasionally deletions (which we largely do not bother to track).
3D area covered in square kilometres.
So is this the new normal? Google has covered most of the major population centres in the regions where they are most active (the USA and Europe). Other parts of the world still have a few major cities outstanding (Cape Town, South Africa for example). Collecting and processing 3D imagery must be quite an expensive exercise, so it is unlikely Google will aim to cover all the areas in between cities even for the USA. It is a pity they haven’t yet got a way of showing the dates the imagery was collected and there is no ‘historical 3D imagery’ option, so frequent updates would be rather a waste unless they are significantly improving the quality with each refresh.