Software // Information Management
News
12/11/2012
01:10 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Maps Adds NASA Nighttime Satellite Imagery

Google, NASA and the NOAA have released high resolution nighttime satellite images that illuminate everything from cities to ships at sea.

NASA Mars Mission: No Little Green Men -- Yet
NASA Mars Mission: No Little Green Men -- Yet
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Less than a week ago, NASA released "Black Marble," a set of high-resolution images of the Earth at night, illuminated by the electric lights of cities worldwide. Already, thanks to a partnership between Google and government agencies, people can explore the imagery in Google Maps.

The imagery released by NASA last week was collected by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite during 312 orbits of Earth over 22 days in April and October 2012, and then composited and mapped over NASA's high-resolution Blue Marble Next Generation imagery.

Although users won't be able to zoom down to the street level like they can in Google Street View and the satellite view of the standard Google Maps, they can zoom down to the city level, which enables viewing of gas flares produced by oil and gas drilling and exploration in North Dakota and the Middle East, wildfires in Australia, boats crowding the Nile River in Egypt and the lights of New York City and London.

Google announced the collaboration with NASA Earth Observatory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Geophysical Data Center, which Google is calling Earth at Night 2012, in a post Monday on Google+.

[ Read 11 Cool Tools NASA Curiosity Brought To Mars. ]

NASA also has released its own interactive version of the imagery overlaid onto a map as part of NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System's (EOSDIS) Worldview tool. Worldview, first released to the Web in July, includes up-to-date satellite imagery and overlay data from 50 different data streams.

Suomi NPP, operated out of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, has sent vast amounts of scientific data and imagery -- particularly climate imagery -- to NASA since its launch in October 2011. Other recent nighttime observations include images of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, images of wildfires in the Western United States in July and images of power outages in Washington, D.C., after a freak summer storm.

Suomi NPP's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is so sensitive that it can pick up light from a single ship at sea, and is an improvement over past satellites that could pick up nighttime images.

According to NASA, scientists will be able to use the data from VIIRS and Suomi NPP more generally to study a long list of topics, including climatology, population movement, auroras, bioluminescence and the extent of arctic ice.

Suomi NPP is also responsible for NASA's most recent 86,400-pixel-by-43,200-pixel Blue Marble imagery, which is composed of daytime images from VIIRS. NASA has been taking satellite images of Earth since 1960, but the recent Blue Marble and Black Marble series are some of the highest resolution images yet released.

Join Cloud Connect for a free webcast with "Cloudonomics" author Joe Weinman. Cloudonomics is a new way to discuss the benefits of private clouds. Many have focused on the cost reduction possibilities while others have focused on business agility. However, private clouds can play a strategic role, as well. The Cloudonomics webcast happens Dec. 12. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 16, 2014.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.