Why Israel-Gaza region is blurry on Google Maps?

Researchers using open-source, publicly accessible information - including mapping data - to identify attacks and record the destruction has brought attention to the issue.

The open-source investigator Samir says "The fact that we don't get high-resolution satellite images from Israel and Palestinian territories sets us back,"

Even though higher-quality images are available from satellite firms, most of Israel and the Palestinian territories appear on Google Earth as low-resolution satellite imagery.

In Gaza City, it's difficult to see the vehicles.

  • What is the significance of satellite imagery?

The use of satellite imagery has become a critical component of conflict reporting.

Investigators are using satellites to confirm the locations of missile fire and targeted buildings in Gaza and Israel during the most recent Middle East conflict.

However, the most recent imagery for Gaza on Google Earth, the most commonly used image website, is of low resolution and hence blurry.

Google says its aim is to "keep densely populated places refreshed on a regular basis" but this hasn't been the case with Gaza.


  • Why Gaza is blurry?

The BBC spoke to Google and Apple: Google and Apple were contacted by the BBC (whose mapping apps also show satellite images). Apple announced that it would be updating its maps to a higher resolution of 40cm in the near future.

Google informs that its pictures come from a variety of sources and that it evaluates them.

"opportunities to refresh satellite imagery as higher-resolution imagery becomes available". And they added that no plans to share at this time"

Nick Waters said "Considering the importance of current events, I see no reason why commercial imagery of this area should continue to be deliberately degraded,"

  • The information will high-resolution imagery provide?

In 2017, Human Rights Watch teamed up with satellite provider Planet Labs to document the military's destruction of Rohingya villages in Myanmar. By comparing 40cm-resolution satellite imagery of these areas from before and after, they were able to map the extent of damage to more than 200 villages in the district.

The facts seemed to back up allegations made by Rohingya Muslims who left Myanmar for Bangladesh that the military had bombed their homes. Satellite imagery has also been critical in tracking what's been going on in China's Xinjiang region, especially the network of "re-education" centers set up for Uighurs.


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