No, These New High-Res Google Maps Were Not Taken by DronesS

We're all familiar with Google Map's cool/creepy satellite imagery, great for spotting airplanes and busting illegal backyard pools. The technology has received a significant boost recently. (Though not, as some conspiracy theorists believe, thanks to drone technology.)

A reader from geek blog Slashdot pointed out that Austin, Texas is now graced with super-close-up, high-res satellite aerial imagery on Google Maps. The reader suggested that we might be seeing the first imagery taken from some mythical Google aerial drone . Neat story, but not true: Google recently debunked rumors of a new unmanned drone army.

Here's a before (New York) and after (Portland) picture to compare [Click to enlarge]

No, These New High-Res Google Maps Were Not Taken by DronesS

A post on the Google Maps blog in July explained that this new high-res "45° imagery" was being gradually rolled out in select cities, including Portland, OR, Capetown South Africa, and San Diego. (But not New York, yet!)

As you may have guessed from the name, 45° imagery is imagery depicting a location from a 45° angle rather than from the top. This type of imagery allows you to explore the sides of buildings and other locations — you can even rotate around a particular point of interest using the compass ring to view it from four different perspectives.

Drones or not, the new pics look much clearer than the old ones—you can almost smell the crullers from Voodoo Doughnut in the Portland pic.

Next up: Google Maps satellite imagery taken from the perspective of a just-born Cicada, struggling out of the fresh spring mud.

No, These New High-Res Google Maps Were Not Taken by DronesS