Google Maps has been a popular tool for several years now but it has just undergone a huge 700-trllion-pixel makeover that now includes cloud-less and high resolution images.
The new images have been obtained thanks to NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite that took to orbit in 2013 which captures twice as many images a day as the older model used.
The cloudless views obviously allow the 1 billion monthly users to see clearer views of earth without clouds obscuring the image.
One island that had previously been obscured had been Christmas Island which is home to many of Australia’s asylum seekers. It is now apparent where the camp is, appearing as bare soil among a tropical rainforest.
Google uses a cartography technique that is known as mosaicking.
This technique collates all images of the area, both past and present and creates a median image whilst at the same time ensuring that the image portraits the current appearance of an area.
It is this technique that Google uses to stick the 700-trillion pixels together to make the superb quality map.
The resolution upgrade was required after Landsat 7 space probe malfunctioned and resulted in gaps in images due to data loss.
The 13 year gap since previous versions of Google Maps has shown a reduction in glaciers in both Alaska and Antarctica.
The Earth Engine APIs were used to create the most up to date depiction of Earth, mapping water levels and deforestation, as well as helping to predict locations of possible malaria outbreaks.