DigitalGlobe's satellite imaging

If you've been wondering just when a company would take advantage of the US' relaxed rules for accurate satellite imaging, you now have a date to mark on your calendar: Lockheed Martin has set the launch of DigitalGlobe's high-resolution WorldView-3 satellite for August 13th. You won't see results from it right away, but its creators can start selling extra-sharp pictures (with detail down to the 10-inch level) six months after the craft is up and running. The data should lead to much nicer imagery in online mapping services from companies like Google and Microsoft (both of which are DigitalGlobe customers), although it's not just cosmetic. Higher-res photos will help track large farms, spot mineral deposits and otherwise deliver a clearer view of our planet that has previously been limited to the government -- don't be surprised if it's easier to spot landmarks on a map without using markers.