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Google Maps gets sharper thanks to satellite upgrade

Satellite images on Google Maps and Earth are now higher res thanks to a new, more powerful satellite launched by the search giant.

The upgraded satellite image of New York (above) shows more detail, such as skyscrapers and baseball fields, compared with the older version (top).


If you've just turned on satellite imagery for your Google Maps or Earth apps and are wondering if your eyesight has gotten better, the answer is sadly no. Google has rolled out an update that upgrades the satellite imagery on both apps with more detail and better colours.

Using the Landsat 8 satellite, launched in 2013, the search giant has built up a new mosaic of the world to replace the images obtained with the previous Landsat 7 satellite.

Google says the map was compiled from "nearly a petabyte of data," mining over 700 trillion individual pixels to find the best cloudless images to use. You can see the new and improved service now in both apps -- just remember to turn on satellite images for Google Maps.