A single-engined monoplane which some people had noticed flying low over Penarth last Tuesday afternoon (August 23rd) has turned out to be an aircraft which is updating aerial images of the Penarth landscape for the internet giant Google.
Google’s “Google Earth” programme enables anyone with a computer to home-in on any town, village, road , street-address or even back-garden in the majority of countries around the world.
The aircraft spotted in the skies over Penarth on Tuesday has apparently been electronically recording new aerial images of the town which will be used to update the Google Earth program in due course.
The aircraft – a Cessna – was photographed over Lower Penarth as it flew in a continuous North to South track for at least 30 minutes – progressively shifting its track westwards with each overflight. A camera pod is fitted in the belly of the aircraft and – unusually – a long exhaust pipe appears to vent the hot engine fumes well aft of the camera – presumably so that the hot air doesn’t distort the camera image
Google also uses a fleet of cars with 360 degree electronic cameras to record images of at ground level on public roads.