Google Plane View: How search giant’s eye in the sky captures air traffic from above
Google Maps has helped many a traveller find their way to the right destination over the last decade.
But sometimes the search engine, which uses a mixture of satellite images and high-resolution photos from planes to power the majority of the service, captures a little more than intended.
For instance, this Virgin flight was captured coming in to Adelaide Airport in Australia and now appears as a permanent landmark on Google Maps and Google Earth.
While the plane looks like it is hovering just above the rooftops, it is likely to be hundreds of feet above the ground, with the viewer’s perspective lost by the top-down view removing all reference points to help you figure out the scale of the image.
What’s that overhead? A plane heads over central Adelaide, heading towards the city’s airport to the West
It is one of many fun images found on Google Maps, and a legion of enthusiasts regularly hunt for other glitches and anomalies on the mapping service.
London gets its own flyby, with a plane suspended over Russell Square in the centre of the city, forever trying to reach the British Museum but, as far as Google Maps in concerned, never quite making it.
Meanwhile, in Frankfurt, a string of planes fly out of the city airport – or is it just the same plane captured many times over the course of a few seconds?
Russell Square in Central London also finds itself under the shadow of a plane, which is about to head over the British Museum as it journeys South
Planes take off from Frankfurt Airport in Germany: This is more than likely to be the same plane captured seconds apart by Google’s eye in the sky
Other plane crazy antics in Maps include the aircrafts with a propensity for hiding in trees.
Planes in Brooklyn and South American were spotted among the bushes and leaves, perhaps trying to avoid radar detection.
These anomalies are likely down to stitching errors when the automated Google processes line images up with each other.
The search engine uses multiple satellite images to plot the world, and sometimes, the images do not line up perfectly or objects move while the pictures are being captured.
In plane sight: What this rather large aeroplane was doing among the trees in Brooklyn is anyone’s guess
This appears to be a real aeroplane hidden in someone’s garden in Paraguay, South America
Google has been improving its service over the last few years, adding features such as Street View, panoramic images of landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, and internal mapping of areas such as shopping centres.
It faces competition from Apple, which is launching a rival mapping service which will serve the company’s iPhone and iPad products.
Apple has been using a fleet of planes and helicopters to create the rival, and will use maps from satnav maker TomTom to use in the project.
And finally, a cruise missile appears to fly over the Utah desert.
Or is it just another Google anomaly?
Red alert: A blood red lake outside Iraq’s Sadr city
Clouded judgement: A strange formation appears in the sky over a town in Italy
They probably failed their driving test: Odd car parking in Westenbergstraat, Netherlands
Cruise missile or jet? This Google Earth image taken over Utah has been the discussion of much debate. Some say it’s a missile, others say it’s a jet with black wings