Thursday, September 29, 2011

bird's eye geek note

I've been doing a lot of cycling this summer, and one of my rituals after I get home from a ride is to map out my route  (different each day) with online software that will tell me how far I went, what altitudes I reached, even how many calories I burned.   Using google and its satellite imagery has a been a great tool in deciding where to venture next, but when I started to learn how to read weather maps recently, I made an interesting (to me, anyway) discovery.
Google hasn't updated their satellite images in our area in like- three years!  What up?

Check out upper Fairview Avenue, as it currently shows on Google:

Now look at the exact same area on Weather dot com:
Complete with all the new bigbox crap.

Here's the Columbia Land Conservancy Area on Rod and Gun Road, as it appears today, with the pavilion and silo:

But if you were on your way up that road, and navigating with Google images - you'd think you were going to drive by a working farm on private property!
That farm hasn't been there for years.

I have yet to figure out how often the Weatherdotcom website updates their basic landscape satellite photos, which serve as an underlay for their weather info.  I'm guessing the websites probably have to pay a fee to the satellite companies to use their images, and then subscribe according to their need.

In any case, the current image for Union and First Streets shows an empty lot (now under development), and the trees on Union Street haven't been cut down yet.  So we can deduce the images are updated at least every few months.

 I'll be watching this area hoping to figure out the update schedule, unless someone can enlighten me...