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Microsoft’s 260 mega pixel camera behind Bing maps

Microsoft is getting really big on the whole mapping system. The company wants to get a piece of the pie in that market as well. We know that Goolge, which provides the best known mapping service, uses more than one satellite and autonomous cars which traverse the surface of the Earth to make digital copies of the digital elevation model of the Earth. We have also seen the same thing happening with Apple’s new mapping service.

Microsoft has gone a step ahead to launch a dedicated camera into the space which will capture and send really high definition images of the Earth. The camera is a whooping 260 mega pixel which captures images at a resolution of “14,430 x 9,420 pixels, generates 418MB per frame and spits images out as a JPG or TIFF files.”

This is the Ultra Cam which comes from Vexcel, a system integrator Microsoft owns and which specialises in geospatial applications. The Ultra Cam consists of three aerial cameras, the UltraCamLp, the Eagle and now the Falcon.

The Ultra Cam comes from an Austrian Microsoft outpost that Redmond says “brings more than two decades of photogrammetry expertise to Microsoft’s Bing Maps business unit” and which “develops camera systems and software systems specifically for Microsoft’s Bing Maps program. This includes fully automated orthorectification software being used by Microsoft to process many thousands of Ultra Cam images for the Bing Maps mapping platform and web site.”

But why are we talking all this? Well, because you are able to buy the awesome Ultra Cam now. Yes, you can have it, hang it, or do whatever you want to do with the camera right in your home. If you happen to have a private jet lying around your hanger, the Redmond company says you can even buy a “GSM gyro-stabilized mount” for your Ultra Cam so that you can hang it out of your jet. Interested?

Source: The Register