Google Earth is even more glorious today after being updated with stunning new imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite. It’s sharper and more detailed then ever before, and your view will no longer be spoiled by cloudy skies.
Launched into orbit in 2013, Landsat 8 is the newest sensor in the USGS/NASA Landsat Program. It’s capable of delivering the best imagery at an “unprecedented frequency.” It captures twice as many photos as Landsat 7, and offers greater detail and truer colors.
That makes it perfect for a service like Google Earth, which now uses the latest data available. “We looked at millions of images and took the clearest pixels to stitch together this cloud-free and seamless image,” Google says.
It’s not completely perfect, though. In fact, if you’re an Apple fan, the results are a mixed bag. Some locations, like the company’s Cupertino campus, look pretty spectacular — as you can see in the screenshots below.
Imagery of the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, where Apple announced the iPhone 6s and held its most recent Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, is so good that you can actually see rust on the roof.
Unfortunately, other iconic locations for Apple fans, such as the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan and the house where Steve Jobs started Apple with Steve Wozniak, still look pretty awful in Google Earth.
There are still some improvements to be made, but when Google Earth does look good, it looks really good. Of course, it could be that Landsat 7 images are still being used in some places, so these locations could look a lot better in coming weeks once they’ve been updated.