Aerial, Satellite and gigapixel photography

Understanding current and expected high resolution photography is important for understanding future privacy and sousveillance.

What is commercially available for aerial surveys?

12.5 cm aerial survey (commercially available. Higher resolutions from lower passes)

What does the military have ?
Satellite image resolutions and restrictions

Imagery from the most recent intelligence satellites launched by the United States government, is believed to have a resolution of about 2 cm.

List of past, current and planned satellite imaging systems and capabilities.

Details on the KH12 spy satellite. (Think Hubble Space telescope pointed at the earth)
More on the Keyhole spy satellites

What resolution is needed?

What are you Resolution Needed for
looking at Detection General ID Precise ID Tech Analysis
Vehicles 1.5meter 0.6m 0.3m (30cm) 0.045m (4.5cm)
Aircraft 4.5 m 1.5m 1.0m 0.045m (4.5cm)
Nuke parts 2.5 m 1.5m 0.3m (30cm) 0.015m (1.5cm)
Rockets 1.0 m 0.6m 0.15m (15cm) 0.045m (4.5cm)
C&C HQ 3.0 m 1.5 m 1.0 m 0.09m (9 cm)

PDF on facial recognition security You need about 12X16 pixels (192 pixels) for a reasonable facial identification.

At 5 meters, 130-degree field of view
Resolution average face
640X480 6X4 pixels
1280X960 12X8 pixels
2650X1920 24X16 pixels
5300X3840 48X32 pixels (24X16 at 10m)
10600X7680 96X64 pixels (24X16 at 20m)
21200X15260 192X128 pixels (24X16 at 40m)

10 to 20 times optical zoom is common.
A gigapixel camera would be able to identify faces from 50 to 100 meters away without telescopic lens. This would almost all of the faces on one side of a football stadium from one photo.

Gigapixel photography either from combining many regular photos or from special cameras.

ten gigapixel photos and cameras and projects