Friday, August 31, 2012

Bing Maps: Global Ortho Project Complete for United States

Here is the recent announcement from Bing Maps regarding the Global Ortho Project.

In 2010 the Bing Maps team began its most ambitious mapping endeavor ever with the start of its Global Ortho (GO) project. Today we are excited to announce the completion of the GO project in the United States!

With the Global Ortho project, the Bing Maps Imagery team set a new standard in aerial map imagery by collecting every square inch of the Continental United States and Western Europe at 30cm resolution (1 foot = 1 pixel) in just two years – something that had never before been accomplished. This project has given us imagery that is brilliant, accurate and fresh, and the completion of the U.S. is a huge achievement! Now, more than ever we have the ability to deliver a consistent quality experience to all our consumers and enterprise customers.

The effort to bring high resolution imagery to market began in 2006 when Microsoft entered the aerial photography business with the acquisition of Vexcel Imaging. Microsoft began evolving and improving the flagship UltraCam aerial camera, and over time, developed a special version of the camera that acquires a very wide swath of imagery at high resolution. With this new camera Microsoft conceived the Global Ortho project, designed to bring consistent quality and resolution to every part of the United States and beyond.

And that is what is so special about the Global Ortho program. There is higher resolution imagery of some certain areas available, but there is no continent-wide mosaic at this high of a resolution. What GO brings you is an amazing view into familiar places (like your own home) and remote corners of the United States.

The amount of imagery that Bing Maps acquired and processed for the Global Ortho project is staggering. The GO acquisition in US was completed in two years; contrast that with the second biggest aerial photography project, the USGS’s National Agriculture Imagery Program, or NAIP. Based on comparable specs it would take NAIP 42 years to acquire the same amount of imagery. That’s a HUGE amount of imagery. To get a sense of the size of the GO project, think about it in pixels. At 30cm per pixel if you lined up all the GO pixels end to end, they would reach:

- Around the earth 994 times

- To the moon 104 times

- To Venus, with an extra seven trillion pixels to spare

This video highlights the Bing Maps massive Global Ortho Program that is redefining aerial map imagery.


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