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First 'Google satellite' launched

First 'Google satellite' launched

The GeoEye-1 satellite will give Google exclusive access to high-resolution geospatial imagery.

The first Google logo to orbit the planet made its maiden voyage on Saturday attached to the GeoEye-1 geospatial photography satellite.

The satellite, referred to by CNet as part of the US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency's NextView programme, allows both colour and monochrome photography of as high as 82 cm resolution – far in excess of the detail previously available.

Although primarily for military use, the GeoEye-1 will also prove handy for Google: the search company has landed the exclusive rights to use imagery provided by the satellite for its Maps and Earth packages. While the really impressive stuff – i.e. the photography high-resolution enough to read a paper's headlines when left on a doorstep – will be kept back for military use only, the enhanced quality footage will give Google's mapping services a distinct edge over its competitors.

The Saturday launch – attended by Larry Page and Sergey Brin – took place from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where the satellite ascended on-board a Delta II rocket module. Thankfully, the rather risky sequence went off without a hitch with seperation from the second stage confirmed that afternoon and all on-board systems passing initial checks.

GeoEye-1 will be snapping surfaces near your from 423 miles above starting in the next few days, with a sister satellite – called, surprisingly enough, GeoEye-2 – due in 2011. In the meantime, expect to see the quality of imagery available on Google Earth dramatically improve.

Do you applaud Google for getting the exclusive rights to GeoEye-1's imagery, or does the thought of everyone's favourite NSA black-op being able to see what you're wearing sound a trifle worrying? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

20 Comments

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liratheal 8th September 2008, 09:09 Quote
Frankly the whole thing sounds like the set up to a really funny joke.

Cue conspiracy nutters, stage left!

I would have liked to have had the superdy-duper high-res images on GM, that'd be rather amusing for me. Any hint as to where these higher res things are going to start?
r4tch3t 8th September 2008, 09:10 Quote
Higher resolution company roof pimping FTW. And Dutch women lol.
Soon we will be able to count the grains of sand on the beaches.
Mo_ 8th September 2008, 09:36 Quote
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Narvi 8th September 2008, 10:29 Quote
So Google finally launched their killer laser satellite. And they are going to launch another one soon.

I don't see why I should be happy about this.
mrb_no1 8th September 2008, 10:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Narvi
So Google finally launched their killer laser satellite. And they are going to launch another one soon.

I don't see why I should be happy about this.

ROFL, awesome!
RTT 8th September 2008, 11:03 Quote
Matticus 8th September 2008, 11:10 Quote
^ haha amazing.

If I had a flat roof or a bigger garden I would be leaving out a message. Anyone with the space to do this, please leave a message of some sort, don't make it dirty as I imagine it will get censored.
p3n 8th September 2008, 11:19 Quote
The GeoEye-1 satellite will give Google exclusive access to high-resolution geospatial imagery - Pretty sure thats not only wrong but they are only allowed to use images to a certain degree of accuracy (slightly 'lower' than the satelites capability)
r4tch3t 8th September 2008, 11:20 Quote
Someone put a Relix on their roof.
proxess 8th September 2008, 11:33 Quote
when they release geoeye-3, they will pinpoint strategically all 3 satellites and burn the earth to crisp!
BlackMage23 8th September 2008, 11:39 Quote
Google are watching you........................
Bluephoenix 8th September 2008, 12:59 Quote
It will take a really long time for them to grab large areas of the UK, since it seems to scan only smallish sections with every pass and only if its in the right alignment. the US will take even longer.
ParaHelix.org 8th September 2008, 15:37 Quote
I shall report to Gold Member about this, and dear Google sirs, he shall not be happy.
ParaHelix.org 8th September 2008, 15:38 Quote
NOW WE CAN SEE BIN LARDENS CAVE!!!
UrbanMarine 8th September 2008, 16:19 Quote
Lets hope the Navy doesn't shoot it down by accident.
Saivert 8th September 2008, 20:21 Quote
I'm happy for them! Congratulations with your first satellite, may it be the first of many successful launches. TOUCHE!

Google world domination stage 1 pre-alpha complete.
Gareth Halfacree 8th September 2008, 21:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
The GeoEye-1 satellite will give Google exclusive access to high-resolution geospatial imagery - Pretty sure thats not only wrong but they are only allowed to use images to a certain degree of accuracy (slightly 'lower' than the satelites capability)
Which part is wrong? I can assure you that Google does have an exclusive right to the commercial exploitation of the imagery, and I can also assure you that the resolution offered to Google is approximately twice as high as any other company - although, as I say in the article, not as high as the government get out of it.
ParaHelix.org 8th September 2008, 22:48 Quote
Be expecting very nice Google Earth updates ^^
DXR_13KE 9th September 2008, 14:55 Quote
i wonder when they will create a moon base....
Cthippo 9th September 2008, 18:46 Quote
Most of the high res stuff you see on Google is shot from planes anyway, and there is no limit on resolution from those. This will allow a larger portion of the earth to be mapped in what we would think of as medium resolution, but in the end won't make that much of a difference. Basically, the upseide is that we may get better resolution of the places they can't fly over, but there aren't that many of those.

There was an article in the Discover magazine earlier this year about Google or Geo-Eye imaging the Trident sub base at Bangor and getting pictures of a SSBN propeller (which is highly classified). Appearently no one thought to cover it up, and so now everyone knows what they look like. Welcome to the new world, it's going to be a lot harder to keep secrets now and I think this is a good thing.
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