GeoEye-1 satellite images
Ice fields near Adelaide Island, off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Photo: GeoEye
The creators of the GeoEye-1 satellite have released a set of stunning images that show how our planet has changed in the four years since its launch.
Google, which had its logo emblazoned on the satellite's launch vehicle back in 2008, has exclusive online use of the mapping data produced by the satellite. The data is made available by Google via its Google Maps and Google Earth apps.
Within Google Earth, users can switch on a 'GeoEye Featured Imagery' layer, which highlights available imagery within the interactive interface, with links to full-resolution versions and location/event information.
GeoEye-1, which is owned by geospatial satellite imagery company GeoEye, was the highest resolution commercial earth-imaging satellite in the world at the time of its launch and is worth roughly US$502 million.
It is capable of portraying individual details as small as 41cm. Though Google only has access to details of objects 50cm large, the maximum detail able to be captured prior to the GeoEye-1 was 60cm.
The satellite is capable of capturing up to 700,000 square kilometres of imagery every day, while GeoEye's archive houses over 500 million square kilometres of imagery.
Significant images captured with the GeoEye-1 include the 2009 Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, urban expansion in China and the 2011 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan.