How did Google Earth take pictures of houses around the world?

by | May 22, 2009 10:00 AM ET

You Asked:

How did Google Earth take pictures of houses around the world? --- Billy, Walstonburg, N.C.

Marshall Answered:

Google offers two ways to look at houses: 1) from the sky, and 2) from the street.

Both Google Maps and Google Earth provide highly detailed aerial photographs for most parts of the world. These photos come from one of two places: 1) Satellite images, or 2) aerial photographs taken by airplanes. Image quality in different cities and countries depends on where the images came from. Old satellite photos have a lot less resolution than recent satellite or aircraft photos.

GeoEye-1 is one of the satellites providing images to Google:

Google Maps also provides its Street View feature, where it feels like you can virtually stand on a street corner and look around you with a 360-degree panorama. Street View is done with specially equipped cars (or even trikes on some narrow streets). A post sticks up from the roof of the car with an array of cameras. As the car drives, the images (and the car's location) are stored on a computer in the car. The millions of images are organized and uploaded to servers.

This is one of the cars taking street view photos:

For more info see How Google Earth Works

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