New satellite to sharpen Google Earth

Google Earth is already "sharp" enough.  So sharp that insurgents in Iraq have used it to pinpoint troop positions, and so sharp that some countries want Google to restrict the images that it publishes of their land.  A new satellite will be launched Tuesday that will produce even sharper images.

DigitalGlobe, provider of imagery for Google Inc's (GOOG.O) interactive mapping program Google Earth, said a new high-resolution satellite will boost the accuracy of its satellite images and flesh out its archive.

The new spacecraft, dubbed WorldView I, is to be launched on Tuesday.

Together with the company's existing Quickbird satellite, it will offer half-meter resolution and will be able to collect over 600,000 square kilometers of imagery each day, up from the current collection of that amount each week, Chief Executive Jill Smith told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The new satellite will produce images such that the objects can be pinpointed within 10 - 25 feet!