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Google Earth gets kite power

US: Google is taking the help of a small orange kite to capture some of the remote regions featured on its Google Earth application.

Husband and wife Frank and Karen Taylor, on a five-year odyssey, around the world, is taking the aerial images of coastal regions with their home-made kite on behalf of the Google, which has traditionally used satellite images on its maps.
 
“Before we left on our sailing adventures, I made arrangements to provide Google with aerial photography using the kite so they could put the imagery in Google Earth. So, after taking the photos, they are processed and made part of the base imagery you see in Google Earth,” Frank wrote on its website.

“My primary objective is to take straight-down photos just like you see in Google Earth.”

Frank, who has been blogging about Google Earth for several years, is taking images using a combination of kite aerial photography and remote controlled aircraft.

“I have a special rig that hangs from the kite string below the kite to hold the camera. There is also a remote control that lets me control the orientation of the camera,” he wrote.

The most recent images to be added to Google Earth site are shots from the Manihi atol in French Polynesia. Kite images from BBQ Island, near Panama, already feature in the application.

Getting kite strings entangled in palm trees and poles, and having images spoiled by sunsets are just some of the obstacles Frank has had to overcome, but he said he hoped many aspects of the Tahina’s voyage around the world be chronicled within Google Earth and Maps.

Frank said his kite photography was inspired by a series of high resolution aerial images taken by National Geographic in Africa that have now become a permanent part of Google Earth.

Source: SMH