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  • Airports on Google Maps
  • Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    Shamelessly stolen from another forum but thought it would be interesting to some!

    The satellite pictures of airports in the UK have updated on Google Maps, they now show places like Heathrow completely empty! Hardly any planes on the stands, car parks virtually empty and all the shuttle buses parked up and not moving.

    Heathrow

    Will be very interesting in a few years to go back through stuff like this and see all the places normally busy 24/7 looking abandoned and unused.

    Premier Icon stcolin
    Free Member

    Yea, spooky. And it has managed to capture a Qantas Dreamliner there, not a regular flight in the last 14 months.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    Cardiff is also a maintenance airport so those planes are just parked. The right hand side of the airport is where the passenger planes dock, rarely more than 3 there at any time! The long stay car park is also full of the rental cars, they moved them there during the first week of lockdown.

    I remember my old job took me there in May last year and the total number of planes due to land or take off in the next fortnight was 3. I remember the local news saying that they had a week with no planes whatsoever!

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Are you sure that those aren’t composite images stitched together from bits of pictures with no planes in them?

    Edit – maybe : https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1448729

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    @oldmantennisshoes – I thought this too and don’t think this image is accurate at all (except for the car parks, where I can actually see my car). 🙂

    No aircraft parked over by the maintenance hangers either.

    Premier Icon peekay
    Full Member

    The satellite pictures of airports in the UK have updated on Google Maps, they now show places like Heathrow completely empty!

    Something is not quite right about the Heathrow imagery. Probably a stitching together of various images from different times (mostly early summer 2020) to remove aircraft.

    The only plane visible in it is a Saudi one near T4. The maintenance area to the east of the airport is shown completely deserted, which it never is.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    Bournemouth which has been a car park for the last year is looking pretty full on Google.

    Bournemouth International Airport
    https://goo.gl/maps/g8MPTtUHYt8mqmycA

    Heathrow doesn’t look right, there must be loads parked there at the moment isn’t there? Or have they priced themselves out of the plane parking game?

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Full Member

    The Heathrow image is definitely not right. Though the airline industry has been decimated making a greater loss in 2020 than all the profits made since 1945 combined, aircraft have continued to operate. It dropped to about 20% of the global schedule initially and has built up to about 40% – 50% which is where its at currently, so a small number of aircraft have continued to operate. And freighters have been pretty full on throughout, so you’d expect to see a few freighters knocking about.

    At LHR I’d expect to see some aircraft at gates throughout the pandemic. Not so surprised to not see any at the maintenance hangar as BA would not necessarily choose to store aircraft at LHR, or even in the UK and they would have furloughed most of their maintenance crews. The UK climate is not great for long term storage of aicraft so I’d imagine most airlines would have flown their aircraft to sunnier and drier climates for long term storage, though alot of airlines have chosen to rotate aircraft between storage and operation because aircraft don’t like being stored and sat idle for too long. Also you can’t just store an aircraft. It has to have continual maintenance carried out while in storage to remain in an airworthy status, so has to be at a facility where there is the manpower and companies that can carry out that maintenance.

    There area few aircraft at Bournemouth but I suspect they’re not in deep storage and might be part of the aircraft rotation fleet so kept close to LHR for when they are brought in to be operated.

    Premier Icon jimmy748
    Full Member

    Bournemouth airport is exactly how it was during lockdown 1, although Canford Arena just up the road isn’t, during Lockdown it was full with parked rental cars, but the current Google maps image is an empty field.

    Premier Icon tonyf1
    Free Member

    Kemble hasn’t been updated and is currently rammed with derelict aircraft. From the road you can see a row of BA 747’s with the engines missing waiting to be dismantled.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    Yeah Heathrow doesn’t look like that, my mate works there

    “Hey Phil! Yep, lotsa parked planes and mothballed terminals😅 pretty bleak!”

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Full Member

    Guildford Woking Letherhead Slough Basingstoke *shudders*

    Premier Icon bruceandhisbonus
    Free Member

    Look at the roads around Heathrow, not a single car on the road – M4, M25 etc totally empty. Definitely not right…but how did they do it?!

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Full Member

    Those photos of Bournemouth are odd. Those aircraft don’t look like they’re in long term storage at all. No engine covers or anything on the airframe. If they have been sat there in that condition since lockdown 1 then they’ll be uneconomical to return to service. Those aircraft have either been parked because they’ve been taken out of service (do they do aircraft dismantling at Bounemouth?) or on standby as they’re on rotation. There may have been aircraft parked there since lockdown 1, but are they the same aircraft?

    Premier Icon marcg868
    Free Member

    Manchester not updated car parks all full, same Air Transat A330 on stand in T1 since 2018 😆

    Premier Icon jimmy748
    Full Member

    The Aircraft’s at Bournemouth were there the whole of lockdown 1, BA and Virgin, both with maintenance crews staying locally.

    Premier Icon DougD
    Free Member

    Different story on Bing Maps: https://www.bing.com/maps, though not sure when that image was captured.

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    Look at the roads around Heathrow, not a single car on the road – M4, M25 etc totally empty. Definitely not right…but how did they do it?!

    The roads around Heathrow were completely empty in April 2020.

    Premier Icon notmyrealname
    Full Member

    Look at the roads around Heathrow, not a single car on the road – M4, M25 etc totally empty. Definitely not right…but how did they do it?!

    I’m not sure they’ve done anything to make it look so quiet.

    At the start of the first proper lockdown it was deserted around there, a few mornings driving to work I didn’t see another car on the M25 coming past Heathrow. The perimeter roads around the airport were empty as well as pretty much everything was cancelled.

    I was trying to fiigure out when the pictures are from and I reckon it must be aroundearly  May going by what I can see of my work carpark.

    Premier Icon jimmy748
    Full Member

    Does Google maps still use aerial photography along with Satellite images?
    My house is only 3 miles from Bournemouth airport, and thats not been updated, but Southampton airport has been, maybe the airports had the areas photographed for other reasons and sold the images to Google.

    Premier Icon Kahurangi
    Full Member

    Maybe they decided they wanted an empty as possible base map while they had a head start and used composite images to get there?

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Full Member

    Earth observation folk (I used to be one) have pretty much always used composite images. Usually to deal with cloud, but also to provide temporal averages for things like crop production. Cloud is pretty easy to deal with because the pixels values are so high and there can be corresponding shadows to help with verification. I guess they can use similar algorithms and maybe a bit of AI to compare the brightness of a plane with the slightly duller tarmac.

    Premier Icon peekay
    Full Member

    I was trying to fiigure out when the pictures are from and I reckon it must be aroundearly May going by what I can see of my work carpark.

    Agreed on early May 2020 for the majority of the Heathrow image.
    -Lockdown 1 levels of traffic
    -trees have lots of foliage
    -pre NHS drive through testing site (news website suggests opened 22 May 2020)
    -drop off area in front of T4 still looks to be open
    -still several cars remaining in long stay car parks

    Premier Icon northernmatt
    Full Member

    Newcastle – car parks are rammed as usual, a small private jet type thing on the apron and half a ghost plane at the main terminal.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    This topic was covered a good couple of years ago and well before lockdown started. Manchester aprons were all empty then, it’s not a recent thing. I’ll see if I can find the thread at lunchtime.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Full Member

    Nah, there must be some google trickery involved. Just scrolled along the M25 north and south – got to the A3 south without a single vehicle in view. Then suddenly loads – same to the north, you can see it move into an area with a different dataset and there is loads of traffic. Also on the roads heading into Slough etc.

    I can’t believe that there would be zero vehicles on virtually the entire western section of the M25 in daylight hours, even in lockdown 1.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    Here we go, previous thread.

    Google Earth (satellite) – Manchester airport – why only one plane?

    Premier Icon peekay
    Full Member

    got to the A3 south without a single vehicle in view.

    When looking on the satellite view on the Android Maps App, I can see quite a few cars. About 50 cars and 20HGV southbound Heathrow T5 Jct 14 on slip to Jct 13 off slip.

    Certainly lighter than usual, but not nothing.

    Maybe we are seeing different images.

    Premier Icon WorldClassAccident
    Free Member

    Just had a quick look around Southampton and there is no moving traffic. No-one at the Southampton Bike Park on a sunny day which is strange but the state of the digging suggests early last summer. Also noticed how weird the trees look when you zoom in on them.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I can’t believe that there would be zero vehicles on virtually the entire western section of the M25 in daylight hours, even in lockdown 1.

    I took a photo off a footbridge over the M4 at Reading, middle of the day, not a single car. It really was spooky.

    So I can kinda believe that there would be very few cars, but not zero. I still had to time the photo so there weren’t any cars on that ~2-mile stretch, but it didn’t take long to wait for it.

    It’s not deleted the construction vehicles from the M4 roadworks, which implies they did their magic sometime in Lockdown 1 when construction projects also stopped.

    Also look like they’ve made it a 3D model rather than a flat image? e.g. this image of the M4 over the Thames at Windsor, you can see the new gantry signs in 3D, but the Balfour Beaty minibus is parked there. https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5101205,-0.6714731,184a,35y,270h,39.51t/data=!3m1!1e3

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    These detailed shots are not from a satellite, they are from aircraft

    Premier Icon jimmy748
    Full Member

    This topic was covered a good couple of years ago and well before lockdown started. Manchester aprons were all empty then, it’s not a recent thing. I’ll see if I can find the thread at lunchtime.

    All the car parks are empty, these pictures are definitely taken during lockdown

    Premier Icon jimmy748
    Full Member

    Stansted has planes parked on stand, but no air bridges connected and car parks are empty, Luton looks as it did pre lockdown.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Full Member

    All the car parks are empty, these pictures are definitely taken during lockdown

    Although the thread suggests it’s only a year old, that counts for anything between 12  and 24 months, IIRC it was closer to the upper end of the range.

    I think someone may have pointed out the coincidence of lockdown and lack of activity if that had been the reason!

    Premier Icon jimmy748
    Full Member

    I mean now all the car parks are empty, not back then.

    Premier Icon danposs86
    Full Member

    Not jsust airports, was looking at Google Maps of Blackpool, the normal tourist car parks are all near enough empty. The photos have only been updated (last month sometime).

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Full Member

    Street view, especially in London can go from crowded street to deserted street from one side of the road to another.

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