Google’s Maps and Earth applications are great for getting around, or for taking a whirlwind tour around the globe and getting a pretty detailed look at everything from a bird’s eye view.

Google yesterday announced that it has updated both applications with fresh imagery from the Landsat 8 satellite, and used new technology that produces sharper images. Luckily for us, the updated images also include new aerial footage of President Jacob Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla, KZN.

According to the date stamp at the bottom of the images, the photos taken with Landsat 8 were captured on 26 February, but as Google explained, its apps were only updated today. We have to note that the new images are from across the world, not just of Nkandla.

“Landsat 8 captures images with greater detail, truer colours, and at an unprecedented frequency – capturing twice as many images as Landsat 7 does every day. This new rendition of Earth uses the most recent data available – mostly from Landsat 8 – making it our freshest global mosaic to date,” Google explained.

[Click to open hi-res in a new tab]
Google also has a very handy roll-back feature, so you can view any place on earth to see what it looked like at a certain point in time (provided that Google has images for it).

Nkandla in 2006
Nkandla in 2010
Nkandla in 2013
Nkandla today

Paying back the money

Yesterday the National Treasury said in a report that President Zuma will have to pay back R7.8 million for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla home. He will have to do this within 45 days once the Constitutional Court approves the National Treasury’s report.

According to News24, “the costs included R2.3m for the so-called firepool, R1m for the amphitheatre, and R1.2m for the cattle kraal.” The figure of R7.8 million was determined by two quantity surveying companies, and the value calculated at the cost of what it would have been in 2009.

[Source & images – Google]


Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.