US Government Removes Restrictions on High-Res Satellite Images [BBC]

Microsoft Bing and Google Maps will look a lot better from now on

You would think that Google Maps already look pretty good, but there's always room for improvements. And it so happens that “improvements” have been just there, waiting, for years.

You see, the US Government has access to satellite images far greater in resolution than the ones you might be accustomed to.

Alas, anything smaller than 50 cm / 1.64 feet wasn't allowed on satellite pictures. It wasn't exactly an imposed limitation, more like a consequence of the limited resolution.

Now, though, a company called Digital Globe reckons it can capture things as small as 31 cm / 1.01 feet.

Obviously, it won't be able to do all it wants to do, like launching new satellites and take photos of key features (manholes and mailboxes) if the restriction on high-resolution images isn't lifted. Fortunately, the US government has agreed to it.

Maybe this means that, eventually, Google Maps will start to use actual satellite images in the street views of important cities and landmarks, in addition to photos taken on the ground.

Meanwhile, people like lawyer Marc Daultich will no doubt continue to express security concerns about sensitive locations. Fortunately, the deliberate blurring or otherwise obscuring of such places is easy enough to do.

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