How Can You Get a Current Satellite Image?

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CC-BY 2.0

Current satellite images are available from a number of sources, including the United States Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both organizations maintain regular access to observational and weather satellite technology.

Unfortunately, live satellite imagery is usually in high demand for both military and civilian intelligence, which also makes it highly secure and rarely shared outside of these communities. It is possible to find near real-time images, with as little as a one-hour delay. The reasons behind this delay are debatable, but it often comes down to data processing and upload times. However, there are no current or real-time close-up images available from satellites. Those available through online mapping services are usually compiled from aerophotography and various other cartography sources. These resources are invaluable, but are painstaking to compile and appropriately arrange. Most of these services and companies regularly update their “satellite” images in order to provide the most accurate maps possible, within the confines of a reasonable budget and the technology available at the time. The biggest reason for real-time satellite images being kept secure has to do with individual privacy and the risk of that privacy being breached by anyone with an Internet connection and some spare time.