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A very basic question on Google Maps -> Satellite view.

How often does the view get updated?
Every few hours or so?
Does the view look different in the morning and in the evening? (I didn't check it out at different times)

Any ballpark figure on how much data it generates?

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2 Answers 2

The satellite view is a static image. It will get updated after a period of time (known only to Google) if there is a suitable image available. That image will have to have less than a certain percentage (again known only to Google) of cloud cover so that most, if not all, of the ground is visible.

Images of urban areas will need less cloud cover than rural areas - as there is more to see.

One thing to consider is that Google may well be looking for public domain or low cost imagery as there will be a lot of images required to cover the whole globe at high resolution. While Google does earn a lot of money from it's services they still need to keep costs down. These images are more likely to be older images, the more recent ones are more valuable.

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Google Earth and Google Maps share the same imagery. See understanding Google satellite imagery for more information.

In general, the imagery is one to three years old. You can see imagery dates in Google Earth to see when an particular area was last updated. You can do it one of two ways:

  • Click View > Historical Imagery
  • Click the Clock icon in the toolbar above the 3D viewer.
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