Google’s demonstrated their commitment to photographing every inch of the planet, with their announced acquisition of ImageAmerica. The company builds high resolution cameras for the collection of aerial imagery, according to the Google Lat Long blog.
CNET dug up some further background on the company:
…ImageAmerica specialized in creating aerial photos with “accuracy, quick delivery and low cost,” selling primarily to city, county, state and federal governments and to corporate customers. In addition to developing its DDP-2 (Direct Digital Panoramic) camera system, the company has its own aircraft to house it. The high-resolution camera can capture details as small as 6 to 12 inches, and the company’s processing system can produce orthorectified imagery that’s been corrected for perspective distortions.
I know what you’re thinking – “What the heck does orthorectified mean?”
This should put you out of your misery:
Orthorectification removes the effects of relief displacement and imaging geometry from aerial photos. Orthorectified imagery has broad applications in the photogrammetric and GIS fields. Rectification can by done pixel by pixel or by triangles where the size of triangles is user defined. Grey values or colours can be calculated by Nearest Neighbourhood method or by Bilinear Interpolation. Orthorectified images can be joined into mosaics.
In layman’s terms? Lots of photos can be joined to look like one big photo.