Ever wondered how the Earth, or for that matter your city looked at night? You can stop imagining and check out this official blog post, where Google shares that users can now explore the popular “Black Marble” imagery from NASA/NOAA in Google Maps.

“Now you can explore this imagery in Google Maps – thanks NASA/NOAA for this data and amazing imagery!” Google reveals in its blog post. Users can begin by going here, and select the location they want to view either manually or by moving their cursor over the map and zooming in or out to view the world ‘at night’. 

What Google has readied is Earth at Night 2012, which it refers to as a new global view and animation of Earth's city lights. In the description to Earth at Night 2012, Google elaborates that the result is a composite put together using the data by Suomi NPP satellite. Interestingly, the visuals that users can now see is essentially data that was collected over nine days in April2 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. What's also impressive is that it took 312 orbits to get a clear image of “every parcel of Earth's land surface and islands”.

Type your location in the search box to view the location of your choice

Type your location in the search box to view the location of your choice

The data thus acquired was then mapped over the existing Blue Marble imagery of the Earth to get a realistic view of the planet.

Recently, Google included terrain and colour gradations to represent vegetation and labels for natural land formations to its latest Google Maps update. Karl Johann Schmidt, Software Engineer, Google Maps, shared in an official blog post that the new visualisations will enable users to understand and see for themselves the location of expansive forests, deserts and mountain ranges around the world. In addition, users can gauge the impact of natural land formations, as well as how and why man-made developments such as urban cities, dams and bridges are made.

Now when users search Maps for natural land formations such as the Gobi Desert, Melville Peninsula or Nullarbor Plain, they will be able to spot “improved, well-labeled results”. In order to depict its newest changes better, Google shared a comparison of search results before and after the update. 

Google recently released an update for the web version of its Maps service that lets users access Street View from the mobile browser version of Google Maps in iOS. While the update is mainly for iOS devices, Google has said that other phones can also use Street View on the Google Maps web app, but it won’t work equally well. The feature is available on both the iPhone and the iPad by accessing Google Maps from the device and hitting the Street View button on the upper/lower right side. It is also possible to have Google Maps and Nokia Maps running on your browser in full screen on your iOS device.

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