Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Google Earth (and Maps) expands hi-res Scottish coverage

Rothesay in GE

Rothesay in Google Earth

A massive upload of new high resolution images was reported on May 9, 2009, for Google Earth, and described as including coverage of a large percentage of Scotland.

No further details or listings of the new areas covered were given, but it was noted that the data is yet to be pushed to Google Maps, so it is possible to compare the two (at the moment) to see if an area of interest has now been included in Google Earth.

As an example, compare the Google Earth view of Rothesay shown to the right to that of the same location as seen using the Satellite view option of Google Maps below.

If the view shown below is a cloudy, low resolution satellite image, then we’re still waiting for the high resolution GE images to be pushed to Google Maps, but if it’s clear of clouds, and in high resolution, then the job’s been done.

You can then use the + button to zoom in and tour the island from above.


Passing through on May 12, and I see the new imagery has been pushed through into Google Maps, so no need to wonder if/when it might arrive.


May 10, 2009 - Posted by | Maps | , ,


  1. I was in Rothesay yesterday, 5th June 2009, and walked from the ferry along a pathway not shown on this “new” map. There is a partly covered walkway where google only show a brokendown/unfinished road/path. Looking from above towards the sea, it is the concrete road to the right of the ferry access road, through the middle of the marina. In fact I was told that a streetview car visited last week so there should be super dooper coverage soon….when we are putting satellites into space almost daily,it is disgusting how awful the present coverage is. Let’s not even think about how out of date most of microsoft virtual earth is…it’s like going back in time at least 20 years in some areas I know well.


    Comment by Alan | Jun 6, 2009

  2. Alan,

    I’m sure if you were to give Google a few million from your personal wealth every year, year on year, they would be delighted to spend it on funding and purchasing new imagery every few months, having it processed and stitched, uploaded and hosted on servers that can simultaneously feed this to tens of thousands of users making tens of thousand upon thousand of map image requests per day.

    This is a “free” service, or to be more accurate, one of the few useful things provided/motivated by advertising revenue.

    I don’t think you appreciate the magnitude of the back-end that provides this service of Google or Microsoft’s aerial view or mapping services, the terrabytes of storage, or farms of servers needed, (or how long it takes to get a satellite into space) otherwise you would not use words like “disgusting” or “awful” to describe their content.

    But, it’s still a free country, so you welcome to express your opinion – no matter how how wrong it is, and that includes suggesting that the images in Virtual Earth are twenty years old.

    One of the most useful functions in Google Earth is the image timeline, which allows the user to view all the available images in relation to the time it was taken. This allows us to examine areas which have been subject to development, and where we have lost historic features, in a way which would have cost a fortune for individuals in the past.

    The only sad thing is that there is not more older imagery available, and we can only get back to the late 1990s at present. Prior to that, we remain dependent on Ordnance Survey, and they are determined to hold on to all their info to the bitter end, and charge for it accordingly, unless you’re lucky enough to attract sponsorship form them, and can avoid the licence fees for using their data.

    Like television, I always say if anyone doesn’t like what Google or Microsoft do, just switch off and don’t use it, and leave the rest of us in peace to enjoy it, sans moaning.


    Comment by Apollo | Jun 6, 2009

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