Internet users to have more detailed satellite images

by: Jacqueline Fell Updated:

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WASHINGTON D.C. - Internet users will soon be able to use features like Google Maps to zoom in and read house numbers.

Last week the government lifted a ban that allows companies to use more detailed satellite images.

Eyewitness News reporter Jacqueline Fell talked to some critics who question what this could mean for privacy.

Sandie Davis, part of a group of tourists from Minnesota, said she prefers the satellite view of maps when she has to drive.

“If I can know ahead of time where I'm going that would be wonderful. Landmarks? Yeah, landmarks are better than street directions,” Davis said.

The U.S. government lifted restrictions on the level of detail that commercial satellites can capture, sell and publish.

Lifting restrictions means more objects on the ground can be identified. That could make disaster relief efforts easier, environmental monitoring more effective and maps more accurate. Privacy advocates have a different perspective.

“If you think about what you engage in in the privacy of your own backyard you would perhaps not want those images commercially sold or available online,” one person said.

Davis said she will give up privacy if it means not getting lost on vacation.

It is a privacy versus technology debate that does not appear to have a clear resolution.