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Before diving into the technical details, when we talk about satellite
photography taken from space, we're talking about efficiency, beauty
and excitement. Whether for military, environmental or civilian
purposes, satellite pictures are always interesting and fascinating.
Let's analyze the various uses of satellite photography.

Government agencies rely on satellite photography for tax assessment,
land planning, public works, and public safety applications to name a
few. Using advanced server technology, a company like GlobeXplorer
provides aerial imagery quickly, efficiently and affordably via the
Internet. Their searchable archive of satellite photographs contains the
world's largest collection of commercially available aerial images,
enabling engineers, planners, and managers easy access to detailed
renditions of the appropriate building, property, street, city, and county

A few years ago, accessing images of this caliber was costly and time-
consuming. Images were old and low-quality. File sizes were too large
to be delivered over the Internet. But today's technologies enable
government agencies to gain instant access to the most comprehensive
and up-to-date satellite photographs, sometimes by using only a
standard Web browser.

Today businesses and organizations can integrate their data with
satellite photography, creating their own decision-making tools. Aerial
images convey more visual and real information than maps or diagrams.
These images give users the clarity and accuracy they need, based on
real, multi-resolution views of land, structures and properties.
Continuously updated and optimized image databases enable to
affordably, quickly and consistently distribute information via imagery
across multi-agency projects and planning operations.

An interesting use of satellite photos is to build land record systems in
the Third World. Like in many parts of the world, satellite photos provide
the most accurate foundation in developing land record systems. These
photographs are linked to land records and maps, distinguishing between
cadastrial mapping and national mapping. While the cadastre may be
highly accurate, it is a single-purpose map which only records parcel
boundaries. It doesn't contain important elements like public buildings,
vegetation, rivers, hydrology and other components critical to using
maps to their full capacity. This need is particularly great in regions
around the world where a requirement exists for highly accurate parcel
maps necessary for precise surveying and plotting of ownership.

This technology has existed for years, but has been used exclusively by
governments. Commercial applications became possible in 1994 when
President Clinton signed a directive to commercialize the satellite
photography industry. Most counties throughout the United States still
work from parcel maps drawn on paper, but there is an accelerating
trend to put these maps in a digital form called "vector maps." Once
this is done, it will be possible to overlay computerized images of
property with satellite photos, combined with a property characteristics
database, then extract previously difficult to obtain information. The
combination of satellite photos and land records will also be used by
insurance companies to assess damages in disasters such as
earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

But in addition to the commercial use of satellite photos, Google Earth
is one of the most amazing databases of satellite photography. Google
enables almost every surfer to look not only at almost any location in
the world, but also in his own backyard.

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