Free Satellite Maps Give You A Great View Of The World

As technology constantly moves forward it seems to be forever redefining the way we look at the world, and this is certainly the case with the advent of the internet - which has enabled people to find free satellite maps, which in themselves have changed the way we view the world. It is difficult to think that just a matter of a hundred years ago or so the first man-powered flight took place, and within a short space of time we are now able to send satellites into outer space and beam back photographs and even live video of a view from outer space of our world, even to the point of being able to see the details of our own homes, roads, gardens, and in some cases even people themselves.

One of the main things that free aerial maps have created for many people is that they can see weather formations in complete clarity, as well as looking at online weather forecasting by the aid of a satellite weather map. This of course has had a great effect on meteorology, and by the use of online satellite maps the average person can see exactly how the weather is forming over his or her particular area.

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Simply by keying in a zip code or the name of the city is it possible to get an online weather forecast that is amazingly accurate, and see exactly how the weather forecast came about. And of course for the simple traveler a satellite map can be a great way to discover terrain before going there, something especially important to hikers and campers, who can use GPS systems to download satellite maps and get an accurate rendition of any territory that they will be walking over. Of course, some of these satellite maps need to be paid for, but there are still many free resources that can be used for people such as this, widely available on the internet. It is even possible to find locations simply by using latitude and longitude coordinates.

GPS maps

It is also a fact that satellite imagery is no longer simply about looking at the Earth from outer space, since the details produced by satellite maps have enabled mapmakers to produce maps that are much more accurate than anything that has ever come before. The data that can be supplied by satellite mapping techniques has made the GPS, or global positioning system, possible which enables anyone with a handheld GPS unit to find any point extremely accurately. Again, some of these maps need to be paid for on a monthly subscription, but many can be downloaded for free as part of the cost of buying the GPS unit, and for many people, for instance drivers who just want to get direct directions from one place to another by using satellite technology, they can be absolutely perfect. Many people no longer use a paper map in the car, simply relying on the global positioning system to get them to their destination.

For those people who simply want to take a look at how the earth looks from outer space, or perhaps get a fairly detailed map of the town [or even their own house], free satellite maps are usually enough, especially those that are provided by NASA and other organizations. As time goes on more organizations will provide satellite imagery free on the web, and the next move will probably be of that to real-time satellite photographs being able to be downloaded onto a computer and printed out in high resolution on a color printer. In fact, live satellite maps will soon be able to choose images that are absolutely correct, providing real-time satellite map data that can be downloaded directly to the computer, a GPS handheld unit, or even a smart phone.

Live mapping

These current satellite maps will have a very detailed structure, and will update constantly, something which will completely revolutionize the way we view our landscape and enable amazing advancements in technology related to traveling and leisure pursuits such as hiking or driving cross country. This will be a long way from the first satellite images in the 1950s, produced by Sputnik, the Russian satellite that brought back the first images of the Earth from outer space. These images were amazing for the time, but the detailed satellite maps of today make them look like relics from another era.

In the 1970s, technology out moved on, but highly detailed live satellite maps were still not really possible, even for highly-technologically-advanced organizations such as NASA, since the camera technology was not powerful enough and launching satellites was still an extremely expensive business. Color satellite maps had been available for a few years, but it was not until the 1990s that camera and satellite technology moved on to the point where very accurate satellite maps became very common, with highly detailed aerial photographs being able to be produced which showed details on the ground of such small objects as cars and bicycles. The next move will be towards interactive maps, and these will completely revolutionize the world of satellite imagery.

Mapping software

It must be stressed however that free map services, especially those online, will only give so much detail, and in many cases it is worth paying to get detailed maps and images. Some paid-for packages that give powerful satellite imagery include the CoPilot Live Treo software. Retailing at $210.00 or so, this provides detailed US and Canada street-level maps, and major Mexican roads. The software works with the Treo 700W GPS, and enables it as a portable satellite navigation device. It enables voice guidance, and ZIP code search, along with route optimization, 3-D map view and live tracking.

Another satellite map device is the TomTom GO 920 portable GPS, costing around $240.00, and which comes with the RDS-TMC traffic receiver and a one-year subscription to the Clear Channel traffic service. But for those who want a really high-quality satellite image software package, there is the Garmin Chartplotters GPSMAP 5215. This costs close to $6,000.000, but is packed with satellite tracking and image features, including BlueChart g2 maps of the US coast, along with sonar maps, radar and weather maps, available in high resolution. Also available is marine cartography of the US, including Alaska, Hawaii and the Bahamas. This unit provides video-quality resolution maps and is only for the serious map enthusiast or those with their own boat or ship.

Satellite pictures

For most people a general satellite view giving a fairly average satellite view of earth is fine, and as satellite technology improves and satellite pictures becomes ever more detailed, most people will get enough from simply viewing satellite pictures on the internet, looking at satellite views through, for instance, Microsoft's satellite maps application.

This has moved satellite pictures away from specialists such as scientists and engineers, and the people who work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. However, even the most highly detailed satellite maps are now available to the general public if they are willing to pay a fee, sometimes a monthly subscription to a mapping company. These will enable you to download the most highly detailed maps available, either to your computer a GPS system, or in some cases a smart phone. In short, the world of satellite maps is now available to anyone, and the amount of detail you can see is really only a case of spending a few dollars a month.


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