Google Updates New Orleans Satellite Imagery

Google updated the satellite imagery associated with the Gulf Coast region Sunday because of complaints from politicians that they were airbrushing history by not showing the region’s post Katrina images. Boy, you would think our government could find something more to be concerned about that whether the satellite images that Google is showing on Google Earth or Google Maps are up to date or not.

A related article run by the Associated Press at the tail end of last week outlined the geographic changes implemented to the popular map engine. This then subsequently led to a U.S. House Subcommittee pointing accusatory fingers at Google with regard to “airbrushing history” for the sake of relaying a conveniently untouched depiction of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Source: Google?s wrist slapped for ?airbrushing history?

Google addressed this on their blog with the following statements,

In 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, a very motivated group of volunteers at Google worked with NOAA, NASA, and others to post updated imagery of the affected areas in Google Maps and Google Earth as quickly as possible. This data served as a useful reference for many people — from those interested in understanding what had happened, to friends and families checking on the status of loved ones and property, to rescuers and relief workers. Shortly after the event, we received a voicemail thanking us for the role Google Earth played in guiding rescuers to stranded victims.

Several months later, in September 2006, the storm imagery was replaced with pre-Katrina aerial photography of much higher resolution as part of a regular series of global data enhancements. We continued to make available the Katrina imagery, and associated overlays such as damage assessments and Red Cross shelters, on a dedicated site ( Our goal throughout has been to produce a global earth database of the best quality — accounting for timeliness, resolution, cloud cover, light conditions, and color balancing. Source: About the New Orleans imagery in Google Maps and Earth

Google Earth is a great program, but I fail to see the need for politicians to get involved in whether Google is showing the latest images or not. One would think they would be more worried about updating the images provided by the US Geological Survey. Download the latest version of Google Earth by clicking on this link,