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Empty airports on Google Maps

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Empty airports on Google Maps

Old 15th Oct 2020, 17:42
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Empty airports on Google Maps


Do you know why on Google Maps some airports show empty of airplanes like FRA, TXL and others present a realistic view like LHR, CDG?
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Old 15th Oct 2020, 17:47
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Don't know, but if you use the History button (clock at the top), you can see lots of aircraft at FRA.
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Old 16th Oct 2020, 04:18
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I noticed this too, especially with some of the bigger North American airports.

​​​​​Looking at the dates of the images they appear to have been updated during the pandemic so that would explain it, with many aircraft being stored elsewhere. I suppose the airspace around airports will have been consistently quiet enough to allow the lower level photography to take place.
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 11:22
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I checked Google Earth. Most large airports show no aircraft at all (its not a question of storage - there aren't any at all but smaller ones may (check PIK, BOH or MLB in Florida). They must have been surgically removed, but I can't think why. Airports are not top secret military installations.

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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 13:01
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I noticed this with BHX and MAN the other day. Though interesting LHR is full of planes.

Reading a bit more about it, the suggestion is that its not for the purpose of security - after all what would knowing which planes use an airport tell us. Its more to do with the fact that google maps, or any such tool, is meant to be a capture of the land, not the land and cars and trains and planes and people etc. Evidently, clever algorithms have been used to show the land as it should be, rather than with a plane on top of it. Which makes some sense.

I assume it falls off the fact that every bit of land will have multiple shots of it. Thinking of an airport, the system probably crops together multiple images, e.g. one showing gate x empty, the next showing gate y empty and so on. The point being that each image taken will be different if there is a movable object on it. This is probably most notable on train lines - there are very few trains on google maps!
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