29/6/2016

Google Earth Landsat 8 Imagery

 

Following on from its cloud-free mosaic of the world, this week Google updated its Earth tool with fresh imagery from Landsat 8, replacing the previously utilized Landsat 7 data.

Landsat 8, which launched into orbit in 2013, is the newest sensor in the USGS/NASA Landsat Program - superior to its predecessors in many ways. Landsat 8 captures images with greater detail, truer colors, and at an unprecedented frequency - capturing twice as many images as Landsat 7 does every day. As a result, this new rendition of Earth uses the most recent data available - mostly from Landsat 8 - and the difference in quality is clear. See, for instance, the difference between the Landsat 7 and 8 views of New York City below:

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Image: Landsat 7.

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Image: Landsat 8.

To produce this new imagery, Google used the same publicly available Earth Engine APIs that data practitioners use to do things like track global tree cover, loss, and gain; report on Malaria outbreaks; and map global surface water.

Data was mined from nearly a petabyte of Landsat imagery—that’s more than 700 trillion individual pixels—to choose the best cloud-free pixels. To put that in perspective, 700 trillion pixels is 7,000 times more pixels than the estimated number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, or 70 times more pixels than the estimated number of galaxies in the Universe.

Start explore the new imagery on Google Earth here.

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