Hot on the heels of last week’s Read/Write World effort, Bing Maps has announced another ambitious project that will improve its imagery collection.
It’s called the Global Ortho Project and the goal is to provide consistent, high resolution (30 cms) imagery across every square inch of the United States and Western Europe by June, 2012. Some major cities and landmarks (like Cowboys Stadium above) already have hi-res imagery but, as any experienced online map user can tell you, the photos often get much worse in smaller towns and cities.
No more, Bing says.
In a video about the project, Program Manager Robert Ledner calls it “a complete game changer” and says Bing Maps will be the first in the industry to offer the same visual experience in “a little farm town in Iowa” as in any major city.
“There’s no other competitor that has the same consistency of quality. The amount of of data that we’re pushing through, the speed that we’re getting out is unprecedented in the industry.”
In the video, Bing says it’ll have a three-year refresh cycle on its hi-res aerial imagery collection and, in that timeframe, it’ll go back and re-collect about 50% of its imagery coverage, with a focus on the more populated areas.
The Global Ortho project gives Bing a second type of aerial imagery to complement the existing “Bird’s Eye” photos that display at a 45-degree angle. To access the straight-down Global Ortho images, users can deselect the “show angled view” option when using the Bird’s Eye view imagery.
(Unchecking the option shown here leads you to the image earlier in this article.)
This recent Forbes article says that about 25% of the new hi-res aerial imagery is already online.