Google Maps updated satellite images; we figure out when
Google recently released new satellite images of the DC region. Google last updated its images of the area using pictures taken in August of 2010.
We figured out that the latest images come from Saturday, October 13, 2012. How do we know that? First, there's quite a bit of evidence to suggest that they were taken on a Saturday. For example, the Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring is in full swing:
You can also see the Flea Market at Eastern Market is open:
DC's vehicle inspection station, which is open on Saturdays but not Sundays, is doing a brisk business.
So it's a Saturday, is there anything to tell us which month these images come from? Nationals Park has the markings that the Nationals are in the Postseason, suggesting the images are from sometime in October.
So now we are fairly confident that it's a Saturday in October, one telltale sign we can use to determine which Saturday it is is by using track work.handy scheduled transit service disruptions calendar tells us where we should expect to find track work each weekend. There's visible equipment on the Green Line between West Hyattsville and Prince George's Plaza. The only time that section of track was worked on during October was the weekend of the 13th.
There are also a lot of people on the South Lawn of the White House, and it just so happens the White House Garden Tour was also on October 13 and 14. Since we have ample evidence it was a Saturday, that leaves October 13.
We can even get a fairly good idea when on October 13 the pictures were taken thanks to the Washington Monument, which acts like a giant sundial. It's almost pointing straight north, signifying solar noon, which happened a little before 1 PM that day.
Here are some of the visible changes that the area has seen in the past couple years:
The imagery that Google uses seems to have some issues with overpasses making them look misaligned. For example, these Metro tracks just north of Takoma Park look like they've suffered earthquake damage.
What are some of your favorite sights from the latest update?
- Consumers say they like trains. Why don't economists care?
- Alexandria has identified locations for its next 16 bikeshare stations
- To bike without worrying about nearby cars, I'm happy on the MBT
- Transit to Wolf Trap will still run through West Falls Church
- There's history to behold on some of DC's manhole covers
- Walkability by Metro line, graphed
- Smarter growth will expand Prince George's tax base