Evolution of Basemaps

And how Maxar imagery mosaics are modernizing the mapping game

  • 1990

    The first cloud-free, composite image of Earth is featured in National Geographic World Atlas. At 4.6 km resolution, it took 10 months to create.

    This composite is the first wide-scale image of the Earth since Blue Marble, captured from the Apollo 17 spacecraft in 1972.

  • 1999

    Maxar launches its first high-resolution Earth imaging satellite, IKONOS, featuring 80 cm resolution—the highest commercial resolution available at that time.

  • 2000s
  • 2004

    Keyhole Earth Viewer is acquired by Google and relaunched as Google Earth-democratizing access to global Earth observation imagery from Landsat 7 (15 m resolution).


Maxar launches 6 high-resolution commercial satellites including WorldView-3, which features 30 cm capabilities and an average revisit time of less than one day

  • 2013

    Maxar evolves single image strip data offering for mapping to countrywide image mosaics with unprecedented quality, 50 cm resolution and 10 m CE90 spatial accuracy.

  • 2016

    Airbus announces One Atlas, its online global basemap featuring annual refreshes spanning 50 cm to 1.5 m resolution coverage.

  • 2016

    Esri announces partnership with Maxar, increasing accessibility of high-quality global mosaics available via ArcGIS.

  • 2016

    Maxar achieves first digital high-resolution basemap of the Earth, featuring consistent 50 cm resolution and 10 m CE90 spatial accuracy over 90% of landmass. This breakthrough introduced the ability to map any location with consistent and continuous coverage.

  • 2017

    Planet launches its web portal, Planet Explorer, offering access to its 30-40 m resolution imagery and basemaps.

  • 2017

    Maxar launches the SecureWatch Earth Intelligence access platform, enabling 24/7 on-demand streaming of its high-resolution imagery mosaics enabling unprecedented monitoring and change detection capabilities at metro and global scale.

  • 2018

    Maxar develops machine learning-based mosaicking technologies that enable annual global builds and increased accuracy of 8.5 m CE90, including 30 cm GSD coverage over 2,500 global metro areas.

    30 cm pixel size moves from the size of a 21 inch baking sheet to the size of a 12 inch dinner plate.

  • 2019

    Maxar begins annual content updates to its global and metro-based imagery mosaics, enabling improved accuracy for mapping and change detection.

  • 2020s
  • 2020

    Proprietary machine learning capabilities increase global mosaic accuracy to 5 m CE90 with minimal shear as well as sub-30 cm GSD for select areas, enhancing visualization and usability of Maxar raster products.

    Sub-30 cm improves clarity of small features like bus stops and utility lines.

  • 2021

    Maxar launches WorldView Legion constellation, increasing its revisit rate up to 15 times per day throughout the day rather than at fixed times, with the ability to collect 29 cm GSD. This increase in capacity enables faster updates and custom mosaic builds.