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Google Earth makes the news again as a tool of war

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 5:09 pm on Tuesday, February 13, 2007

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.

As the communal bloodshed has worsened, some Iraqis have set up advice websites to help others avoid the death squads.

One tip – on the Iraq League site, one of the best known – is for people to draw up maps of their local area using Google Earth’s detailed imagery of Baghdad so they can work out escape routes and routes to block.

It’s another example of the central role technology plays in the conflict – with the widespread use of mobile phones, satellite television as well as the internet – by all sides and for many purposes.


With Google Earth, the Iraq League website suggests, people can also work out the most likely approach of their attackers.

It’s thought that insurgents have also used the map site, examining the detailed images to pick out potential targets.

Click here for the full article.

New NASA network links for GE

Filed under: Software Updates — by at 1:42 pm on Saturday, January 20, 2007

It’s been a month since Google and NASA signed their ‘Space Act Agreement’, an act that will lead to 3D mapping of the moon and mars being made available for free using Google Earth software.

In the mean time, someone called OnEarthWMS has been posting some simply marvellous network links at the GEC using some of NASA’s high-res imagery (thanks to Google Earth Blog for picking this one up).

First up is the NASA ‘Blue Marble’, many of you may have seen the version that is still available from Google’s showcase page (showing composite images across the 12 months of the year). However, the problem with this was that the images were low-res, and as soon as you zoomed in to 4,000 km eye altitude, it became pixelated. These new network links will update as you zoom, showing the full beauty of NASA’s Blue Marble at a MUCH higher resolution! You can now see snow and ice advancing and retreating on a valley scale in the Alps, for example. Here is the file:

NASA Blue Marble Next Generation for GE4 (give this a while to load!)

As many of you may be aware, NASA’s Blue Marble is a composite of many MODIS images (an instrument on board the Terra and Aqua satellites). Daily updates of MODIS images have been available at low-res for quite a while now. However, OnEarthWMS has also posted network links that show the daily updated images at full-res (the links update as you zoom). The ability to see mid-scale cloud systems developing between the Terra and Aqua images is jaw-dropping! Anyway, here are the two files:

Terra MODIS daily network link

Aqua MODIS daily network link

These new network links provide what I feel to be some of the best overlays Google Earth has seen to date. A step closer to true real-time monitoring of our planet on GE. Well done NASA, looking forward to seeing lots more.

Many thanks to Google Earth Blog, OnEarthWMS and NASA.