Unfortunately, podq.com is no longer maintained. Please visit my new site at http://www.joshualyman.com for new and updated content. Thank you!

Now, perhaps this is just me. But after having lots of fun with Google Maps and looking at the stunning images from Microsoft’s coming MSN Virtual Earth, I noticed something that I consider slightly interesting. Where are all the people?


This is most noticeable on the sample images from MSN Virtual Earth, where the resolution and quality is amazing. You will often see cars parked out along streets, vehicles at stop lights, etc. But what I cannot see anywhere is an actual person! No one walking on the sidewalks, nobody in convertibles, nobody in the swimming pools of the sample image here.

I zoomed in quite close to the large version of this image, and the only place you could possibly say there are people is on the lawn chairs in the bottom left-hand section of the image. But still, does that mean that every single person at that precise moment was either laying on a lawn chair, indoors, or invisible? I think not! Not a single person was walking on the sidewalk, getting into a lawn chair, or swimming? Imagine that, you look around and every single person in this large area is laying down, no one is up moving! Crazy!

Now, perhaps I’m missing something (and if I am, please let me know) but I doubt that the producer of these images, Pictometry is going to take the time to go into each photo and clone out every obvious human, but I can also see why they theoretically would. Two words that are wreaking havoc in our modern day sue-happy world: Personal Privacy.

But anyways, can someone spot some people for me so that I don’t feel so paranoid?

5 responses


Do you want to comment?

Comments RSS ?

Top right hand part of the photo, between the intersection and building.See the green building?
In the walkway there is a person walking it looks like away from the building.

May 29, 2005 5:46 am

None of the people show up due to the nature of the way each photograph is taken. The Satellites are constantly moving within their orbit, so each of these pictures are taken while they’re moving, so any object within the pictures that are moving won’t show up since it needs the 60 seconds of time or whatnot to record each object. Since people walking along the streets aren’t in the same spot for the required time they don’t show up, explaining why you only see cars at stoplights and people in beach chairs.

June 4, 2005 5:54 pm

Hmm, I understand that the satellites are in a moving orbit (not a stationary one), but I doubt that they are using anything like a 60-second exposure. There are cars in the middle of the road, stopped, so the exposure must be somewhere less that 1/30 of a second (I’m a photographer). And if the satellites were moving, a 60-second exposure would require the satellite to stop, and then thrust to move again to the next grid to prevent blur. It could be something to do with the exposure time and movement though.

Good catch with the people on the corner Joseph, I had missed them the first time as poles or something.

June 5, 2005 11:11 am

Hey man, the Polish are people too.

June 16, 2005 4:55 pm

My guess? They took the picture early in the morning, like 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. Look at all those beach chairs around the pools… No towels on them, all lined up pretty. If it were during the day at all, they’d be messed up, moved around, covered up, etc. So there probably aren’t too many people walking around

I count at least 4 people in that walkway described above, plus another person (I think) walking down the sidewalk toward the walkway.

Also, where is this, Vegas? It was probably 110 degrees outside. Everyone’s in their cars with the A/C cranked! 🙂

Just a theory…

August 25, 2005 3:57 am