How Apple is using military-grade aerial spy drones to build 3D Maps
Apple has recruited a private fleet of jets equipped with military-grade imaging technology to produce HD 3D imagery for its newly announced Maps service
If you thought Google’s Street View was invasive, get ready to be shocked by Apple’s latest plans for its newly announced Maps services, which uses privately recruited jets packing military-grade imaging technology to capture HD 3D images of earth.
This type of technology and vantage point was previously the sole reserve of Intelligence Agencies, such as the CIA and MI5, and the military. It’s also the first time a commercial company has attempted something as ambitious – just imagine the amount of data that’s involved when shooting in this detail and quality.
Apple’s imaging technologies are said to to be so powerful they could potentially see into homes through skylights and windows, which is the very same technology the US military uses to identify terrorists in Afghanistan.
Each plane is equipped with multiple cameras taking high-resolution photographs of buildings and landmarks from every possible angle, which are then compiled to make three-dimensional images.
‘The technology is understood to have already been tested in 20 cities across the world including London, following Apple's acquisition of C3 Technologies, a Swedish 3D mapping business, last year,’ claims The Telegraph.
Google also confirmed last week that it would be doing exactly the same thing in a bid to bring 3D maps of metropolitan areas to its Android platform. The search giant made the following statement regarding its new data collection methods:
‘Since 2006, we’ve had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and we are excited to announce that we will begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices.
‘This is possible thanks to a combination of our new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that let us automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.’
That means two of the world’s biggest corporations are now flying around in private jets equipped with military-grade surveillance gear taking pictures of cities, road, mountains and, most importantly, your home. And, predictably, not everybody is happy about this.
‘The next generation of maps is taking us over the garden fence,’ said Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, in a statement.
He added: You won’t be able to sunbathe in your garden without worrying about an Apple or Google plane buzzing overhead taking pictures.’
However, some industry experts disagree, claiming Google and Apple will be forced to blur out people’s homes and gardens like Google’s Street View does with faces.
That still doesn’t change the fact that Apple and Google are now in the business of using military-grade surveillance equipment on the general public, though, and while many pundits have already attempted to discredit the concerns raised by Big Brother Watch, it's still very easy to see why people are getting worried about the powers that corporations like Apple and Google now have at their disposal.