Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Viewing Homer from Space

People generally have this notion that satellite technology is good enough to read license plates, or mostly thanks to movies like Enemy of the State, that geosynchronous satellites run by the government can watch your every move from space. However that's just not so, as even the best and highest most accurate satellites that can just about tell you what model of car you drive (no they can't read your plate) have to be close enough to the Earth that they need to maintain a steady orbit to keep from crashing down the moment they're sent up. Truly geosynchronous satellites (mostly communications and navigational) are too far away for any camera or sensor to pick up anything significant.
And most satellite pictures must be processed before you see them. However, EarthNow is probably as close as we've ever gotten to doing something like that.
It's a java applet that feeds your browser Landsat imagery as the satellite moves along making it's orbits around the earth (250 meter resolution though, wouldn't even be able to see your house) The feeds are basically a few hours old.
Sourced from The Map Room. Go to that Map Room link and check out the funny Simpsons video that makes fun of everyone's natural fascination with zooming in on Google and VE trying to spot our house.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Heh, and D'oh!!