Building a live Google Earth

Two high definition cameras fixed to the International Space Station will soon offer real time pictures from space to everyone.

That promise is made by the Canadian startup UrtheCast . According to the BBC they will launch two high resolution video cameras to the International Space Station ISS on board a Russian Proton supply ship early next year. Cosmonauts are already in training to manoeuvre the bulky equipment from the capsule into the station and for the space walk necessary to install the cameras on the outside structure.

The cameras will offer a resolution of about 1m per pixel. According to UrtheCast you won’t quite see the tiles but all the detail in your garden.

The basic service on offer will be free – with users able to log into the site and see live or archived images and video of anywhere on Earth. With the ISS orbiting the planet around 15 times a day, sooner or later it’ll be above something you want to look at.

UrtheCast plans to give software developers free access to its code, allowing them to develop new applications such as games or utilities.