Google has recently pushed out another imagery update. We created maps for March, April and May imagery, but did not find any significant changes in the March and April maps since the last update a week ago. There is, however, quite a lot of new May imagery.
May imagery. Red: Recently added imagery. Blue: imagery as of May 29th.
To find the locations in Google Earth download this KML file.
We haven’t been able to find any major events captured in the new imagery, but we did come across a strange image in the Sahara. It is in the south of Algeria and covers an area that has not previously been imaged with high resolution imagery.
We can see nothing of particular interest in the imagery, with half of the area being obscured by clouds, and no distinguishable features on the ground. Although it is hard to judge resolution, we think it is lower resolution than the nearby DigitalGlobe image. At first sight it appears to consist of three parallel strips, but the clouds all line up which would not be the case if it was three consecutive passes of a satellite, so we suspect it is all one image or three images captured in one pass. It also has no attribution (the NASA attribution is for the very low resolution background image).
The strips are at a different angle from most satellite imagery which tends to be nearly aligned in a north-south direction. Strips of other alignments do exist but we believe they are typically for newly launched satellites that have not yet moved to a polar orbit. Near polar orbits tend to be preferred as it provides greater coverage. We do not know if this is the case for companies like Planet Labs which has large numbers of satellites.
If any of our readers know anything more about the origin of this imagery, please let us know in the comments.
Find it in Google Earth with this KML file.