In 2021, we brought realistic views of the Earth to the forefront by combining imagery and terrain in GL JS v2. Launched just over a year ago and bolstered immediately after with our largest ever imagery update, it set the stage for the incredible 3D visualizations we’ve seen this year. Before we look back at the various updates and improvements made in 2021, we’re excited to announce new aerial imagery for Spain and Luxembourg.
These most recent imagery updates close off a year in which we added over 1,000,000 square kilometers of aerial imagery in Europe. Read on below to see other highlights of imagery improvements we made in 2021.
This addition put the finishing touches on our global update made at the end of 2020. By adding consistent, recent 50 cm imagery across the country, developers from Maine to California (and Alaska and Hawaii) were able to create apps with greater context and visual references than ever before.
At the end of January, we released a layer containing 2018-2019 NAIP aerial imagery over the contiguous United States. This imagery is collected on a 3-year cycle, and provides full coverage of the lower 48 states during the growing season. Customers interested in using this imagery can add the mapbox.naip tileset to their maps.
We used 50 cm imagery from our global update to replace our previous Landsat imagery to provide a better 3D experience. By downsampling the resolution of Maxar’s Vivid product and blending it with low-resolution MODIS imagery, we eliminated a transition between imagery sources and delivered a more realistic 3D experience.
We added 25 cm imagery covering all of the Netherlands and 10 cm imagery covering Switzerland at the start of the summer. These additions were the first of 9 European countries receiving updates in 2021.
We benefited from amazing imagery being released from IGN France that let us complete our coverage of France that we started in 2020. Similarly, SNIG in Portugal provided full country coverage which we made available in August.
In September, we added imagery covering 6 German States and 3 areas of Austria. All imagery was collected at 20 cm with areas as recently updated as June 2021.
In October, we added new, high resolution imagery over Israel to our map for the first time. Until last year, US companies were restricted to provide no greater than 2 meter resolution imagery over the area. When the law changed, we worked with our partner, Maxar, to get the latest 50 cm imagery available.
Updating our global terrain layer delivered a more realistic 3D experience, with imagery draped over our elevation data. The higher accuracy is especially useful in mountainous terrain by providing better detail for both imagery and hillshade applications.
Looking ahead to 2022, we will continue to add high resolution, recent imagery for our most in-demand areas, and expand our raster serving capabilities to deliver new services and more realistic views of the Earth.