Thursday, 4 August 2011


Mauser wanted to go to Japan again, but the satellite imagery on Google Earth / maps wasn't very good, so I tried to find some better imagery. Unfortunately Yahoo maps is even worse than google! I also tried Naver, which is a big Korean internet portal and has good Korean maps. Apparently they are making in-roads into the Japanese internet market, so I thought maybe they had a good Japan map. But their Japanese website seems to use google maps.

Googling for Japan satellite map or Japan GPS, Japan satellite imagery etc. didn't bring up anything useful. Mostly just google maps imagery of the tsunami areas and forums posts asking whether a GPS would work in Japan.

Looking at garmin maps, I found they have something called Birdseye satellite imagery. I followed their instructions for downloading the demo of the imagery, but my GPS wasn't supported so I couldn't even preview what the coverage is like on the PC. I found a website that had some info about the Garmin Birdseye satellite imagery, and the comments from users mostly said that the coverage wasn't very good, and this was in the US, which you would expect to have been given the best coverage by Garmin.

That same website also mentioned a similar satellite imagery subscription service from a company called DeLorme. On their website they say their data comes from DigitalGlobe. I couldn't see any way to preview the coverage on the DeLorme website, so I checked the DigitalGlobe website.

The digital globe website does give preview images, but it isn't that easy to use. Go to the map page at then zoom in on the map to the location you want to check imagery of.
Click the Search button in the Search Filter Box.
Now on the menu near the top of the page you need to go to 'Catalog' and then choose 'View List'
This opens in a new page so make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled. You can then preview the different satellite imagery they have of that area. Each image in the list shows what area on the map it shows, and you can choose maximum size to view the imagery at full size.

Unfortunately for the area of Japan I was looking at, their imagery was still worse than that of Google Maps / Earth.

No comments: