Free access to 10m global satellite map
Published Jan 18, 2022
We have created a single image of the entire world detailed enough to find your own house. If printed it would cover nearly 16 soccer fields!
Our cloud-free satellite image is used in real estate websites, mobile apps, globes, games and virtual worlds, in the infotainment systems on airplanes, and even features in TV news and weather.
Crafted by a small Swiss/Czech team, it is a viable, up-to-date alternative to Google maps for software developers - with no privacy issues and unlimited possibilities for its application. We have even made it available including seamlessly merged, super-high resolution aerial images for selected countries, ensuring there is even more detail when users zoom beyond the satellite data.
In addition, scientists and artists can download it for their own innovations and creations. We’ve made this possible by crunching 180 terabytes of imagery to fit on a 512 gigabyte USB stick.
Revealing Earth’s natural beauty
With the 2021 satellite imagery from MapTiler, you can take a virtual flight onboard a spaceship orbiting 786km above the Earth. See the planet looking more beautiful than ever, free from clouds and with the lush foliage of early summer and the rainy seasons.
The techniques we have used on the imagery have preserved the natural colors of the earth. Other methods cause colors to fade, relying on much older images and those from dry seasons or winter to aid the search for cloud-free pixels.
Smarter processing allowed us to seek pixels from greener times of the year, such as early summer or rainy seasons. We managed to do this and still avoid clouds and their shadows where possible. As a result, our imagery is far more natural, without the need to artificially boost or change the colors.
The new algorithm we developed to create the cloudless pixels includes color-toning, which has removed many of the stripe effects seen in other products. So even when the pixels are from images taken at different times, a much smoother result is achieved in the final mosaic image.
Collaboration with ESA
MapTiler has a history of collaborating with the European Space Agency (ESA) and their Copernicus earth observation project, winning two Copernicus Masters Awards. Working in ESA’s Business Incubation Center also boosted our ability to turn satellite imagery into something beautiful.
The Copernicus project provided the latest Sentinel-2 imagery required to get the best results. The data is very recent, from 2020 and 2021, and at a 10m/px resolution it is detailed for global coverage. Thanks to their constellation of two satellites, Sentinel-2A and Sentinel-2B, the revisit time for most of the Earth is amazingly short, only 5 days. With plenty of good data to work with and our new approach, we didn’t have to rely on older imagery or factor in data from other sources. All this means that our satellite imagery is very consistent and up-to-date.
237 Trillion pixels analyzed
To create the MapTiler satellite imagery, we set up an entirely new big data processing pipeline. Our team derived their own statistical and mathematical methods to derive the best pixel values from each image to use to represent that area. The technique works by taking a time series of data and aggregating pixel values rather than choosing one real pixel for output that may not fit well with its neighbors.
Through this process, we analyzed 237 Trillion pixels to remove the clouds and shadows and find the true color of each 10 x 10 meter square of the Earth’s surface. In total, we crunched 180 terabytes of input data, but our techniques meant that we could do this quickly and efficiently.
The result is a much more usable 500 gigabyte image covering the whole world at a 10 meter resolution, that you could fit on a USB memory stick.
Satellite maps for apps and websites
Accessing the satellite imagery couldn’t be easier using MapTiler Cloud. Simply use the API to add the Satellite layer in your webmap or application. You can access the tiles via WMTS directly in your desktop GIS as well, providing a beautiful backdrop or platform to assess landcover from space.
When accessing this layer from MapTiler Cloud, in addition to the new satellite coverage, the maps you make will blend beautifully into high-resolution aerial photography as you zoom in.
Downloadable satellite imagery
Due to the freshness, consistency, and natural colors found in our data, scientists and artists may want to use it for their own projects. So we are also offering the data as a download for to use in completely offline environments or your intranet, where protected by a strict firewall. We can even provide the accompanying near-infra-red data taken alongside the visual spectrum images.
You can download the whole planet from our website; the most efficient format is WebP at around 500Gigabytes, with the 16bit Tiff data being around 1 Terabyte in size.
Find out more about satellite and aerial imagery on our website or read the story about how we did it: