Google Earth gets Aerial Photos from Google Kites, Balloons

Over the years we've sort of become accustomed to Google Earth's impressive aerial imagery. It's not that we're no longer impressed by it, we've just grown used to seeing satellite and aerial photographs. However, Google isn't one to rest on its laurels and it seems the company has been experimenting with other methods of capturing aerial images.

 

Today Google announced the publication of images captured using balloons and kites. The company partnered with the folks at The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science in order to find a way to make imagery collection easy, cheap and accessible. What they came up with involves an open source balloon mapping toolkit and allows anyone with a cheap digital point and shoot camera, and about $100 of other parts (balloon, helium, line, soda bottle, etc.) to take their own aerial photos.

"Their grassroots mapping work is based on the idea that citizens anywhere should be able to explore the environment in and around their communities, by collecting their own imagery and other data, and to do it in a way that is useful for scientific and social purposes," said Google's Christiaan Adams.

To see Google's balloon and kite photos, you'll need to hit up Google Earth’s historical imagery database, and then download and open this KML file in the latest version of Google Earth.

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  • alidan
    will it be higher quality that current sat photos? that will be the tester. just looked up my home, i cant see a baloon and a camera someone would risk in one taking a better picture.
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  • freggo
    alidanwill it be higher quality that current sat photos? that will be the tester. just looked up my home, i cant see a baloon and a camera someone would risk in one taking a better picture.


    You mean "higher quality sat photos" that are being made available to the public ?
    I am sure certain agencies have sat imagery that is well above what Google Earth has to offer :-)
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  • of the way
    And it all depends on where you live. The photos of my area are not just low quality, they're also very out of date.
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