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Google earth uses older publicly available NASA data as a base and then improves it with better, often commercial, data in some interesting points. One problem with this approach is that the quality and accuracy differs wildly from place to place.

For any place in at least the western world there almost certainly exists better (and sometimes open) data than this project will provide. The big win for this project isn't that the data will always be the best available, but that it will be a single source of open data of consistent quality and format for the entire earth.

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