Spy planes to help Apple, Google capture 3D aerial images

Technology is advancing at blazingly fast speeds, and in most cases it happens even before one catches a whiff of it. Reportedly, tech giants - Apple Inc. and Google are investing in a technology (spy planes), which according to report will be capable of, upon completion photographing "sunbathers in their back gardens". Both Google and Apple Inc. are both in the run to deploy technology that'll get them aerial maps, so visually-rich that they can display objects just four inches wide. The Daily Mail now reports that Google has, in fact admitted to having sent planes over cities. Apple, on the other hand has, according to this report "acquired a firm using spy-in-the-sky technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations, including London."

Your destination in 3D

Your destination in 3D



The report further adds that the Cupertino-based company's military-grade cameras are powerful enough to be able to see into homes through skylights and windows - a technology similar to the one used by intelligence agencies to identify terrorist targets in Afghanistan. Google, however plans to deploy these spy planes in creating more detailed 3D maps. Needless to add, a technology as such will have to ensure that it takes the consent of householders - images of whose homes may go online. Quoting Nick Pickles, Director of Big Brother Watch warned of one's privacy being put at risk. The report further quoted him as saying, "The next generation of maps is taking us over the garden fence. You won’t be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures."


The report highlights that this technology by Google may actually be here by end of the year. It states that Google, by end of the year expects to have 3D coverage of towns and cities (combined population being 300 million). Although, the search giant did not specify the locations that would be covered. 


The report further added, "Current 3D mapping technology relies on aerial images taken at a much lower resolution than the technology Apple is thought to be using. This means that when users ‘zoom in’, details tend to be lost because of the poor image quality." Google's Street View technology, while on one hand gave users a chance to navigate through locations in the comfort of their living room, also faced a lot of heat over privacy issues. 


Only today, we reported about how a new, in-house map application by Apple was being readied; the main feature of which was  its 3D mode. 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman writes that the new 3D mode is not enabled by default and users will be required to click a 3D button in the app. The 3D technology incorporated in the new Maps application is a brainchild of C3 Technologies.

Published Date: Jun 11, 2012 05:57 pm | Updated Date: Jun 11, 2012 05:57 pm