Australia Day was last week. For the occasion, both Google and Microsoft both planned to do flyovers to snap imagery of the Sydney landscape and actual Sydney residents (Sydneysiders) for the event – ultimately to be used in Google Earth, Google Maps and Microsoft Live Local (Virtual Earth). However, Google’s flyover didn’t work as planned.
Microsoft ran a “Look Up and Smile” campaign with prizes such as $2000 for the best dressed person. Aussies came out to claim their space on the maps with lavish banners and love letters, all dressed up and ready for the big day.
Microsoft obtained permission to fly over Centennial Park at 11.20am on Friday at an altitude of 2500m, and they did just that. Google on the other hand, got shot down by Sydney air traffic control Friday morning.
In fact, Terry O’Connor, the spokesperson for Air Services Australia told Google it would be almost impossible to fly over the area they proposed. Google proposed to fly at an altitude much lower than Microsoft, at 600m.
You can imagine the disappointment when the folks that came out to participate and earn their spot on Google Maps Australia discovered they were not going to get what they came out for. One person reportedly spent $10,000 on a 50-meter sign with his company’s logo and web address.