A week and a half ago, we saw some striking images of the Burj Khalifa, reportedly captured with "the best digital still image equipment money can buy." In which case Google's Trekker might be an example of superlative photography equipment that is beyond a mere bankroll.
Indeed, the Google Maps team just launched a Street View Collection of the Burj Khalifa and its surroundings, marking their first excursion up a skyscraper—previous excursions include mountaintops, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other landmarks—as well as their first 'Trek' in the Arab World.
The imagery was collected over three days using the Street View Trekker and Trolley, capturing high-resolution 360-degree panoramic imagery of several indoor and outdoor locations of the building. In addition to the breathtaking views from the world's tallest observation deck on the 124th floor, you can also see what it feels like to hang off one of the building's maintenance units on the 80th floor, normally used for cleaning windows!
Google Maps' latest effort comes just a few months following a collaboration with Time Magazine, which featured a multimedia presentation of time-lapsed Landsat images, post-processed and collated by Google's powerful mapping software.
It took the folks at Google to upgrade these choppy visual sequences from crude flip-book quality to true video footage. With the help of massive amounts of computer muscle, they have scrubbed away cloud cover, filled in missing pixels, digitally stitched puzzle-piece pictures together, until the growing, thriving, sometimes dying planet is revealed in all its dynamic churn. The images are striking not just because of their vast sweep of geography and time but also because of their staggering detail. Consider: a standard TV image uses about one-third of a million pixels per frame, while a high-definition image uses 2 million. The Landsat images, by contrast, weigh in at 1.8 trillion pixels per frame, the equivalent of 900,000 high-def TVs assembled into a single mosaic.
It's something of a long-read, to say the least; the incredible (unembeddable) intro video duly cites the Overview Effect as the article offers perspective (literally and figurately) on how the natural world has changed over the course of nearly three decades.
Hat-tip to PSFK