Skybox To Enable Real Time Google Maps, Let the Spying Begin?
Peter Donnell / 2 years ago
A few weeks ago Google made a quiet acquisition of a start-up called Skybox. As with many of Google’s purchases it went without much fanfare as the company likes to shop around for new toys quite a lot, it can be hard to keep up with them all. This latest one is of great interest though as SkyBox have the satellite imaging technology needed to enable real-time imagery on Google Maps.
Imagine being able to scope our traffic in real-time from an birds eye view? Even if you’re tens, or hundred, even thousands of miles away. What about scoping our a street to see if it’s somewhere you want to live? Might look nice in the day, but could be packed with drunken idiots from a local pub after 9pm. There are lots of things you could do with real-time mapping and that of course raises a lot of questions on how comfortable people are with this kind of technology watching them.
It all sounds a little sci-fi, and certainly has an air of the sort of technology seen in movies or that is used by the CIA. With the US government recently changing the law to allow for what is known as “manholes and mailboxes” imagery, companies like Google are now allowed to use higher resolution images on their maps. With companies like SkyBox being able to offer high resolution video shot from their satellites, it could also negate the need for the current patch-work of images that Google use, often created from a mixture of satellite images and aerial photography.
“If you imagine a satellite sat above your office then the old resolution could probably make out your desk. The new imagery – where each pixel measures around 31cm – can now make out what’s on your desk,” explains Clive Evans, lead satellite imagery investigator with LGC Forensics.
It is unclear when and where Google will make such images and technology available to the public, but with SkyBox preparing to put more satellites into space, it’s likely going to be in the very near future.
Thank you Independent for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Independent.