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.
Another year, another batch of fresh satellite pictures from Google, and these were uploaded surprisingly fast. The latest set of images viewable in Google Maps or Google Earth was taken on April 5, 2014. The older imagery was from March 15, 2013. Before late 2013, the images were from August 2012.
Remember that is this referring to the top-down pictures taken by satellites, not the 45 degree imagery taken by airplane, which is still many years old.
The bright sun and cloudless skies make Fresno an easy market for annual updates. Some major cities around the country only get updates every 3-4 years, and some global cities are still looking at images 5 or more years old.
Some parts of the country, including major cities like Boston, only get updated satellite imagery from Google every 3 or so years.
For Fresno, it’s never more than a year before we get the freshest pictures. The latest update, rolled out last week, shows Fresno and the surrounding area as of March 15, 2013.
That’s less than 7 months between updates! Older images are still accessible via the history slider in Google Earth.
These updates are a great way to follow development in the area, and see how fast some areas are still growing.
Two weeks ago, Google refreshed their satellite imagery of the Fresno region with pictures taken on August 26, 2012, replacing what was seen on April 25, 2011.
Here’s a brief tour of the more significant changes in that year and a half. Some good, some bad. There’s a good amount of positive changes downtown, but many not so good changes on the urban edge.
I’m providing a link to the map, if you want to explore the area on your own, and also when relevant, a post I may have written on the subject.
NOTE: Google keeps defaulting to the 45 degree view, which is old, from 2010. On the right, hover over the map button and then click 45 to disable that and see the most recent images. On the other hand, this gives you a quick way to compare the changes.
Google has just pushed out updated satellite coverage of the Fresno area on Google Maps. This happened in the past 24 hours, because just yesterday I coincidentally booted up Google Earth to see if a secret update was available (one not shown on Maps). Nothing was there, and yet today when looking up something completely unrelated, I noticed a roundabout that wasn’t in the last update…meaning brand new recent pictures. The roundabout caught my eye because a couple of months ago someone emailed me to let me know it was being built. I’ll write about that in the near future.
The imagery updated today was taken on August 26, 2012. That’s pretty damn recent for Google. There’s a lengthy turnaround time from when the images are taken because of all the processing and such required to make sure all the pictures line up perfectly, and there are no clouds or shadows.
The Street View feature from Google Maps is a fantastic tool which I use many times a week. It lets you explore places you haven’t been before, scout out locations before heading out to visit them (ie, exact location of a restaurant) and it lets you see changes that have been made to an area.
Since launching in May 2007 in select cities, Google has expanded their pictures to most of the US, most of Europe, an other countries around the world.
Here you can see that most of the US, Mexico and Canada have Street View images available, in blue. The blue circles are user submitted pictures in areas not yet covered by the cameras.
Google has really ramped up the pace of updates to their satellite imagery in google maps and google earth. A few days ago, they launched updated imagery of Fresno and Clovis, taken on April, 25, 2011. Also added were no images for large parts of the state, including Los Angeles. Google has not announced the extent of the update.
Before that, the imagery was from 9/24/2009, but in mid 2010, Google uploaded aerial imagery taken sometime in early 2010 (before June). The aerial imagery is take by an airplane at an angle, so instead of just looking at rooftops, you get to see some facades and an idea of depth.