Today, GeoEye and Esri finalized a deal to put GeoEye’s high-resolution IKONOS imagery on ArcGIS.com. This global archive of imagery will be blended with Esri’s current imagery data from multiple sensors and offered as a static cache map layer, with a planned launch in early 2012. There is also indication in the press releasethat this alliance will include joint offerings and other initiatives to be announced later this year.
Meanwhile, DigitalGlobe and Microsoft are hard at work processing imagery from Vexcel’s UltraCam large format camera systems for the Clear30 program, which promises 30-cm aerial imagery that will be made available through Bing Maps and DigitalGlobe channels. The initial targets for this effort are the United States and Western Europe, but there is indication that this effort will expand.
Clearly, a new era of online mapping accuracy is on the way with these imagery offerings. It’s remarkable how quickly we’ve come with the availability of high-accuracy imagery in consistent format across broad geographies. Just ten years ago we were required to piece together imagery of varying quality from multiple different sensors. With this new accuracy and consistency, it makes mapping so much easier and more reliable, and the greater the accuracy the greater the outcome.