By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Cities
Little known UrtheCast is one-upping Google by providing customizable real-time, streaming HD video views of Earth.
When it first arrived, Google Earth's concept of letting internet users take terrestrial high-resolution snapshots from space was quite revolutionary. So you figure the logical next step would be an upgrade to something like live streaming high-definition video, right?
It's now six years later and the satellite-assisted program has a few more bells and whistles like the ground-level "street view" feature and Google Ocean, which allows users to explore the ocean floor via 3D rendering -- but still, no video.
Now, UrtheCast, a lesser-known Canadian-based company, has decided to pick up where the internet search giant has left off and provide customizable real-time, streaming views of Earth. The company has teamed up with Rutherford Appleton Labs and the Russian Space Agency and to install a pair of HD video cameras aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The project is scheduled to launch on June 28th and cameras will begin beaming footage in the spring of 2012 -- which is when the real fun begins.
Here's a preview of what users can expect from the Urthecast webstreams:
- The ability to track the location of the Space Station and anticipate when it will pass over a particular geographic location.
- The option to search for videos of a specific location, type, or theme and will have the ability to interact with the HD video feed from the UrtheCast servers.
- Camera controls that allows for in and out zooms, ability to virtually steer the camera from side to side, rewind, and fast forward on areas and sites of interest.
The cameras, built by UK based Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, are each designed to carry out different functions. One camera will offer medium resolution three color views with a swath of 45 kilometers and a resolution of 5.5 meters. For high-resolution views, the another camera serves up a frame rate of 3.25 frames per second with a resolution that is comparable to Google Earth and should allow users to see man-made objects and groups of people.
The RSC Energia will deliver UrtheCast's cameras and handle the necessary maintenance and transfer of the data.
According to the company's promotional video, users will be able to watch things like "political, environmental and sporting events at potentially any given time."
Now that's my kind of people watching.
Check out the promo video:
(via press release)
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Jun 26, 2011
So now you will be able to zoom in and watch that football that is exclusive to the cable companies? HD 1mtr resolution, you will still be able to read the lips of the players. What about all those people who like to sunbathe nude in their 'exlusive' hideaways? Will there be a way to block certain views say like the White House, Buckingham Palace etc? Will Area 51 be available?
Great concept but I doubt the governments of the world will allow the people to watch over their shoulders like they have been doing to us for years. As to resolution they've had the ability to read the warnings on a pack of cigs for years.
This service will NOT be popular until, its camera can tell the difference between Britney Spears' and Paris Hilton's hairdos, from orbit.
I would love to see what is happening right now. Imagine seeing the fires in Arizona in it's context of the whole state down to the areas involved.
This is an awesome step into the future of social, global interaction. I cant wait to connect with my tv or maybe even skype. Very Interested in learning more....
No doubt I will spend (waste) more time viewing places that interest me,It is a much better option however than the soap operas and reality shows on TV :-)