We told you a couple of weeks ago about the launch of DigitalGlobe’s latest satellite, WorldView-3.
On Tuesday, August 18, less than two weeks after its launch, they released the first images from the satellite. Thanks to GEB reader Cesaley Sparks for alerting us to it. The satellite is capable of producing imagery at a resolution of 30 cm per pixel, but because of regulatory restrictions, they have to resample it to 40 cm before releasing it.
Here is a slideshow they created showing what you can see with 40cm resolution.
Digital Globe has also provided a number of images taken around the airport in Madrid, Spain. We have created image overlays in Google Earth which you can download below:
Image 1 (20Mb 4000 x 5000 pixels)
Image 2 (3.8Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 3 (5.2Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 4 (3.3Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 5 (4.5Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 6 (4.2Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 7 (4.6Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 8 (5.3Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
Image 9 (5.4Mb 2000 x 2000 pixels)
To my eyes, the image quality looks comparable to what is already in Google Earth at that location, which I believe is aerial imagery captured from aircraft. Although it will always be possible to get higher quality imagery from aircraft than from satellites, the big advantage of satellites is the global coverage and the regularity with which they can capture imagery. Despite the enormous cost of building and launching satellites, it is still considerably cheaper than a global fleet of aircraft constantly taking photos. The data sheet for WorldView-3 states that it is capable of capturing 680,000 km² per day. That seems a lot until you look up the surface area of the Earth and it comes to 510,072,000 km².
Another very interesting fact was that DigitalGlobe managed to capture images of WorldView-3’s launch using another of their satellites, WorldView-1. See the gif animation they made with the images here..