These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

1 of the main professional uses for satellite imagery is to support firms fully grasp how their rivals or entire nations are faring in the world marketplace—to see, for instance, “how a lot of cranes are active on the Manhattan skyline right now, or [how many] oil tankers are in port,” states Jamon Van Den Hoek, a geography professor and director of the Conflict Ecology Lab at Oregon State University. 

“If there is no Maxar photos acquired in excess of an spot that is suffering from swift economic expense, something fishy is likely on,” Van Den Hoek suggests. “Probably the simplest remedy is that a cash fascination is buying those people photographs at the maximum stage, wherever they retain an exceptional suitable to them.”

Not every person agrees. “I’ve not heard of any professional company seeking to prohibit issues,” states Doug Specht, a geography lecturer at the College of Westminster in London. “My instant reaction is that no one bothered with higher resolution because it is in the center of a desert and large-resolution imagery is exceptionally highly-priced to own and distribute.”

Stephen Wooden, senior director of Maxar’s news bureau, told MIT Know-how Evaluate:  “We do not have any the latest significant-resolution imagery that has been collected about these places.” He wrote that the company largely focuses on its customers’ regions of curiosity but “when we have obtainable imaging time, we will acquire other places as part of our general mission to frequently update the total globe with superior-resolution imagery. We are inclined to concentrate to start with on those parts that exhibit the most modify (e.g., towns, and so forth.) but will fill in these other regions of the globe as very well.” 

When questioned if clients can acquire exclusive obtain to Maxar’s photographs, Wood replied: “The broad bulk of every little thing we gather is positioned into our community imagery archive which is a cornerstone of our imagery business enterprise. All those visuals are readily available for buy and we finally serve our prospects by means of a vary of diverse deal types.”

An area of The Line captured by public and industrial satellites, and seen on Google Maps, doesn’t include the additional new building.


Higher-resolution Planet visuals of pieces of The Line do appear to be to be out there for licensing, although none have surfaced publicly on Google Maps to date. 

A Google spokesperson advised MIT Technological innovation Overview: “We are constantly updating satellite imagery as it will become obtainable from our imagery companies. Given that our vendors usually emphasis on towns and locations that are a lot more heavily populated, these regions tend to get up to date imagery extra regularly.” The satellite images on Google Maps go over only about just one-fifth of Earth’s surface—but 98% of its inhabitants.

Even though the complete surface area of the world gets photographed a number of periods a working day at lower resolution, the sharpest images from the most current industrial satellites can still cost upwards of $3,000, according to a rate record at Apollo Imaging, a satellite imagery aggregator. These are much from extensive, and some illustrations or photos are withheld from general public access for national protection factors, a method recognized as shutter regulate. Lots of Chinese imaging providers, for instance, will not offer any satellite photographs of China, North Korea, Taiwan, or Tibet. 

You may also like