Mapbox, a startup mapping company in the US, plans to make real-time satellite imagery available to ordinary web citizens with its new Mapbox Satellite Live tool. Strictly speaking, though, the images won’t be immediate – due to, you know, the work involved with taking tons of satellite data and processing it before putting it online. Images taken by satellites will go to ground stations, then get transmitted to Mapbox, and get uploaded. With that necessary delay in place the company says that it hopes to still have images as fresh as 6 hours available for people to browse – still a hell of a lot sooner than waiting for Google Maps to refresh its content.
Initially Mapbox will focus its efforts on getting live satellite images of major news events. Imagine being able to see images of riots in Egypt, or earthquake damage in a pacific island nation, mere hours after the fact.