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Google Earth used to attack troops in Iraq

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 8:50 am on Saturday, January 13, 2007

The British Daily Telegraph reports, that terrorists in Iraqi use Google Earth to prepare and conduct attacks against UK troops in Basra.

Print-outs with details of the base including the precise coordinates were found during a raid. British military men are concerned. The daily mortar attacks are increasingly accurate, killed one soldier within the last six months and injured many more.

A Google spokesman said the information could be used for “good and bad” and was available to the public in many forms. “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.



Comment by john

January 19, 2007 @ 12:15 am

seems kind of far fetched, the google maps around my area are around 2 years old


Comment by mickey

January 19, 2007 @ 12:28 am

I agree. There are very few places in the world where the maps are even close to being up to date. Every time I hear one of these stories I wonder how true it really is…


Comment by Simone

January 19, 2007 @ 3:26 am

Be careful….I’m a former army officer, I know very well mortars, and I can assure you mortars can be deadly precise also with the help of geographic maps 50 years old, knowing where the target is.
In my days, I would have LOVED satellite images only 2-3 years old!
Don’t think that all fighting men in the world need to use the whole up-to-date technology bunch and “intelligent weapons” needed by Americans….war is much older and much more stupid….targets are shot at also without any help of maps and technology, the only things you need to shoot with mortars, being VERY precise, are your eyes, a compass, a good observation point (i.e. a rooftop or a hilltop in sight of the target, say 2-3 km away) and a walkie-talkie to communicate shooting instruction to the weapons.


Comment by lukaida

January 19, 2007 @ 6:52 am

take it this way. some regions are simply more interesting, therefor more up to date than any others 🙂


Comment by lukaida

January 19, 2007 @ 6:53 am

* therefore


Comment by Paul McNamara

January 19, 2007 @ 6:55 am

I certainly believe that this is something Google needs to at least do a better job of explaining to the public. More on that line of thought here:

And another reason why Google should be more forthcoming here:


Comment by Bob

January 19, 2007 @ 11:57 am

I trust Google would be willing to use imagery that the military provided; that would give the Coalition an effective way to pass disinformation to its enemies. If Google objects to using doctored imagery designed to confuse the enemy, then we’ll know whose side it’s on in the war between Radical Islam and Western Civilization, won’t we?


Comment by joekings

January 20, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

I suppose any map, new or old would help but what is most important is local knowledge and the know how to aim and shoot. Mortars, if shot with any accuracy, would have caused much more than one dead soldier in six months. Thats sounds more like an unlicky soldier who just happened to have come in the line of fire. Just one casualty in six months of mortar fire can hardly be called accurate shooting. If Google Earth was used to aim and fire for six months than it really says that Google Earth is not accurate at all… at least in that part of the world!!


Comment by stupidbob

January 21, 2007 @ 4:33 am

oh yeah right bob … Google earth is actually a secret radical islam company in covert ops to help them overtake the world. why hasn’t anyone else told me yet …


Comment by S S Salvi

January 23, 2007 @ 12:29 am

It is only a suspicion that GE image was used.
1 in six months is not a alarming ratio.

Incidentally, do you believe that accurate co-ordinates can be obtained from GE imageries?.. NO!

There will be an error of at least 30Meters from ground truth location and GE location. and also the offset is not constant.. in some images it is on one side and it is on opposite side in others.

If such inaccuracy is sufficient ( Comments 8 and 16 above point to this fact ) then GE imagery is not at all required.. Microsoft Encarta World Atlas is not a bad tool either.

If someone wants a recent image of any place then there are suppliers who sell imageries for a few hundred dollars.


Comment by david

January 24, 2007 @ 9:15 am

Not all Googles data are two years old, a few months ago I was looking at a house (now a school) I lived in Tehran, Iran. I would have never known there was an update until I saw the change in patterns in the dirt where the kids walked and played. Circular paths were now all strait and at right angles. After all, the day an area is updated, it remains a relatively new image. I am not sure if any of this is important for the subject here though.


Comment by sssalvi

January 24, 2007 @ 11:40 pm

No all data is not old. Of late they have updated by as latest as Dec2006.


Comment by Merritt M. Holloway

January 28, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

Perhaps I’m not that computer savvy. I was in the Navy stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. I can’t seem to see the Navy base and google says there is no such place. Can someone please help me find it. Thank you


Comment by S S Salvi

January 29, 2007 @ 5:37 am

Merritt Holloway,

Type this link in your browser:

Then search the location in GE.

I always find this ( first search in wikimapia and then use GE ) a better way around to search places known by name.




Comment by Captain Hornblower

January 29, 2007 @ 10:06 am

Try this coordinates:


Pingback by Google Earth Hacks blog » Google Earth makes the news again as a tool of war

February 13, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

[…] Spotted this story hitting the home page of BBC News this evening. Unlike previous stories of GE being used to attack troops, this story focuses on GE being used as a form of defense planning for Sunni Muslims being attacked by Shia Militia. Although it does mention the use of GE by insurgents to identify ‘posible targets’: From BBC News: Google is playing an unlikely role in the Iraq war. Its online satellite map of the world, Google Earth, is being used to help people survive sectarian violence in Baghdad. […]

Comment by victus

July 16, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

Iraq is very much updated tho

Comment by yo mama

December 6, 2008 @ 4:29 am

there’s not even a date on the photos of iraq

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