Three years ago we introduced a cloud-free mosaic of the world in Google Earth. Today we’re rolling out an even more beautiful and seamless version, with fresh imagery from Landsat 8 satellite and new processing techniques for sharper images than ever before. Satellite images are often cloudy, but not always over the same place, so we looked at millions of images and took the clearest pixels to stitch together this cloud-free and seamless image.
Higher Quality ImageryLandsat 8, which launched into orbit in 2013, is the newest sensor in the USGS/NASA Landsat Program — superior to its predecessors in many ways. Landsat 8 captures images with greater detail, truer colors, and at an unprecedented frequency — capturing twice as many images as Landsat 7 does every day. This new rendition of Earth uses the most recent data available — mostly from Landsat 8 — making it our freshest global mosaic to date.
Our previous mosaic used imagery from Landsat 7 only, which at the time was the best imagery of its kind. Unfortunately, Landsat 7 images captured after 2003 were affected by a hardware failure, resulting in large diagonal gaps of missing data You can see this effect in the subsets of two Landsat 7 images captured over Oklahoma City, OK, in 2000 and 2003.