Google Earth’s New Satellite Beams First Image

Daily News Article   —   Posted on October 10, 2008

Note:  This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph:

(Telegraph.co.uk) – [A] high-resolution colour image from GeoEye-1, which was launched September 6 from a US air force base in California, … of a university campus in Pennsylvania, … was first posted at GeoEye [on October 7th]. 

The picture of the Kutztown University campus was taken on Tuesday while the satellite was in a 423-mile-high (681 km) orbit over the East Coast of the United States.

“We expect the quality of the imagery to be even better as we continue the calibration activity,” said Brad Peterson, GeoEye’s vice president of operations.

GeoEye-1’s main client is the US government’s mapping arm, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but Google is a major sponsor of the $500 million satellite and has exclusive commercial rights to its images.

Because of national security concerns, GeoEye-1’s government clients will receive higher resolution photos than commercial partners such as Google, which plans to use the images on Google Maps and Google Earth.

The satellite imagery from GeoEye-1 will be of a higher resolution and better quality than what is currently available on Google Maps and Google Earth.

The GeoEye-1 venture is not Google’s only trip into space.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is a space buff and has booked a seat on a flight to the International Space Station with the company Space Adventures, which plans to take space tourists to the orbiting space station beginning in 2011.

Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the Telegraph. Visit the website at telegraph.co.uk.

Questions

1. What was the first picture taken by the newly launched GeoEye-1 satellite?

2. From how many miles above the earth was the picture taken?

3. Who is GeoEye-1’s main client?

4. What company has exclusive commercial rights to GeoEye-1’s images? Why?

5. Why will GeoEye-1’s government clients receive higher resolution photos than commercial partners?

6. How does Google plan to use the images?

7. a) Do you like the idea that there are satellites taking pictures around the world that enable anyone to view photos of specific locations in the U.S. and around the world? Explain your answer.
b) What do you think about the privacy aspect of such technology?
Discuss these questions with a parent.


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Background

About GeoEye (from the company website):
GeoEye is the premier provider of geospatial information for the national security community, strategic partners, resellers and commercial customers to help them better map, measure and monitor the world. … It operates a constellation of Earth imaging satellites, mapping aircraft and has an international network of ground stations, a robust imagery archive, and advanced imagery processing capabilities for developing innovative geospatial products and solutions. On September 6, [2008] GeoEye launched its GeoEye-1 satellite which is now the world’s highest resolution and most accurate commercial imaging satellite. The Company also provides support to academic institutions and non-governmental organizations through the GeoEye Foundation. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, GeoEye is a public company listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol GEOY. …

Resources

Read a press release from GeoEye about the new satellite at geoeye.mediaroom.com.

View more images from GeoEye at geoeye.com.

To use googlemaps, go to maps.google.com and click on “street view” above the U.S. map, then click on your state, and then town and street for photos.

Read about the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 1.nga.mil/About.