The innovation lies with the invention of the HyperPod camera system that can capture high quality imagery (1GB of raw data a second) quickly and at a significantly lower cost compared to other providers.
The CEO Simon Crowther was quoted as saying "It's super high resolution and you can zoom in and see a walnut on the ground without it pixelating". Although a walnut would be impossible to identify at 3cm resolution, the quality is still quite impressive. The end result is a city being completely mapped out within a few days and accessible to the public, governments and commercial sectors within 7 - 21 days.
|Resolution Comparison: Nearmap can produce 2-3cm resolution, Google Maps ~10cm|
|Mapping of Melbourne, Australia's largest city by area takes two days to map using Cessna 210s and the HyperPod|
During the Brisbane floods, Nearmap assisted Council and State Emergency Services with the recording, management and recovery of the disaster. In the future it should increase the predictive capacity for planners and engineers to mitigate against future disasters (e.g. droughts, bush fires, floods, cyclones) throughout the whole of Australia. Nearmap is free to the public, you will need to signup for an account. Also, do not expect the whole of Australia to be mapped out, only major cities and townships as they do not have a large enough fleet of those little Cessna's. So you might have to revert back to Google, in the time being.
|Brisbane Flood 17/1/2011|
The ABC have a useful tool where you hover mouse over images located here to see imagery before and after the flood.
I love Nearmap and I will not just be providing news. Although, they will never be as big as Google Maps, I will be one of the first in line when there is a public offering of shares! I will be applying Nearmap to GIS applications and give details on how to download image tiles in bulk with Hypertiles.