Google has confirmed that it is to acquire satellite firm Skybox Imaging in a $500m deal aimed at keeping Google Maps accurate.
Google plans to use Skybox's satellite to supplement the material it licenses from more than 1,000 sources, including other satellite companies such as DigitalGlobe and Astrium, reports the Guardian.
The acquisition will enable Google to update its map applications at a faster rate through direct access to its own satellites and images.
Google said the Skybox satellites could also be used to help with disaster relief and expand internet access to remote areas in line with similar efforts by rivals to grow user numbers.
Founded in 2009, Skybox launched its first satellite in December 2013 and plans to expand that to a fleet of 24 satellites capable of capturing high-resolution video and still images, reports the BBC.
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The expansion into satellites comes two months after Google bought drone-maker Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed amount.
Google has made about 250 acquisitions during the past 10 years, using many of them to expand into new markets.
Google is hoping to gain regulatory approval to take control of Skybox Imaging in the next few months.
The deal still needs approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Federal Communications Commission.