How Does Google Earth Generate 3D Imagery

Many people use the popular service called Google Earth, but only few known about the process through which the tech giant company generates 3D images. It is indeed an extremely appreciated project that lets you take a peek at any point in the world.

One of the most used sources for getting images of various places on Earth are the satellites. They provide 2D images in high quality from all around the world. Whenever you get an image close to Earth, you have to know that the 3D version is provided by photos taken from planes. Many people actually think that every overhead picture they see online is made by a satellite, but that’s not always true.

Similar Process to Google Maps

Just like the tech company uses Google Street View cars to collect images and data about various places on Earth, there is a similar process for Google Earth. But instead of cars, the experts use planes, as amazing as it may sound. Naturally, this is harder than it may seem. Only think about the weather and imagine how hard it has to be to schedule a data-gathering flight and then having a storm take you by surprise. Obviously, the best photos are taken on the days with clear skies.

The difference between a special flight like this and a normal one is that the plane has to go in zigzags and not on a straight trajectory like it does on commercial flights. As such, the team manages to overlap photos and then show different angles of the same place. The cameras on the plane are oriented towards various areas, so that they can capture several angles. Naturally, the photos are first slightly edited and the team makes sure that they are quality ones.

By the end, they obtain a great 3D map of the entire planet, which means there’s a lot of work behind.