Posting updates about Google Maps satellite imagery in the Fresno region used to be a frequent topic on this blog. Thanks to the lack of clouds for half the year, Fresno was lucky in that new images were posted about twice a year, compared to some more populated area that only got an update every other year – or even less frequently. Basically, to provide the images, a satellite has to take hundreds of pictures, and then they are all blended together automatically to reveal a seamless image without clouds in the way. Since Fresno has so many clear days, it’s much easier to get the shots.
Or at least that was the case, because in all of 2016, Fresno saw no updates.
Here’s a look at the update history. The link is my post talking about it (although now those links are useless thanks to the Photobucket debacle).
As you can see, pretty consistent!
Well, in 2017 we got two updates, with the most recent one showing up in December. Those images were taken on 8/7/2017 (it takes them a couple of months to process and update – that’s normal). There was also an update taken on 3/31/2017, which I noticed around July, but never got around to posting about.
But here’s a twist: Usually the images go up on the Google Earth platform first, and then a month or so later show up on general Google Maps (and dates that are less than perfect never migrate to Maps). However, this year, the images that show up in Google Maps are blended with a range of dates! What’s even more confusing is that in Google Maps, you’re not told what date the image is from.
This popped up thanks to construction progress.
IE: Let’s look at High Speed Rail construction over the San Joaquin River.
Great, that’s what construction looked like at the end of August.
Wait a second, that bridge began demolition in January 2016!
What’s super confusing is that you get no indication that by simply dragging your maps around, you’re essentially travelling through time. There is no way to know, in Google Maps, what parts of town are showing images from 2017 or 2015. Everything just show 2018 as the copyright.
Fortunately, Google Earth does give you the exact date.
So let’s move forward and use Google Earth to see what’s new in Fresno for 2017.
High Speed Rail is, at least to me, the most exciting change. Especially because you can clearly see the path the train will take. So essentially, this post bcame a stealth High Speed Rail update. Oops!
The most northern segment of construction visible is in Madera Acres, with a new road overcrossing well under construction.
But more exciting is this completed section, where the line will cross the Fresno River and CA-145.
It is easy to find additional construction as you just have to follow the existing freight line. That leads you to Cottonwood Creek.
At that point, the line will peel away to switch to the Union Pacific Alignment. The path is fully visible!
And that arrives at the San Joaquin River, posted above. But here’s a ground view of that construction from August:
From there, you go south and see how they’re moving CA-99 over.
Then work on the new tunnel under an existing rail line, a canal, and a highway.
Those stars mark where I was when I took these photos:
Also downtown, work has begun on a new underpass at Tulare Street. That’s adjacent to the future station, the existing 100+ year old (closed) train station, and the site of the now-demolished Greyhound station. This is brand new, so it’s not even on the new aerial images! But here it is anyway.
Chinatown is across this
Old train station seen on right.
South of Fresno, HSR will again switch over to the BNSF route. That’s where the most impressive piece of construction is.
I took some photos of that back in August, from the top star.
What else is new?
Well, August 2017 had the Fulton Mall close to the end of construction. I’ll be posting my tour of the completed project soon.
And the relentless march of sprawl in Clovis
Any other big changes in Fresno since the 2015 update?
You can see the images for yourself by downloading Google Earth (free) , moving the map to Fresno, and checking that you’re seeing the right date.