Google has really ramped up the pace of updates to their satellite imagery in google maps and google earth. A few days ago, they launched updated imagery of Fresno and Clovis, taken on April, 25, 2011. Also added were no images for large parts of the state, including Los Angeles. Google has not announced the extent of the update.
Before that, the imagery was from 9/24/2009, but in mid 2010, Google uploaded aerial imagery taken sometime in early 2010 (before June). The aerial imagery is take by an airplane at an angle, so instead of just looking at rooftops, you get to see some facades and an idea of depth.
Before that, the images were from November 28, 2006. Google did not provide satellite imagery service before that*.
So to recap, the images have been from:
November 28, 2006
September 24, 2009
So clearly the rate of updates has sped up.
This will make reporting last years bike lanes easier (note my problems with Google Mapmaker) as the editors can no confirm that I am not making things up.
*Using Google earth, you can access historic imagery, and some recent imagery not deemed good enough for google maps (problems with lighting, clouds etc). For Fresno, the oldest images are from 1998, but other cities have images from as far back as the 1940's.
I'll be using the new images to discuss the unfortunate "New Town" project near Millerton Lake.