Google Earth makes the news again as a tool of war

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.

Reader Interactions


  1. In countries like US where walking is unheard of, maps are required to know local area. But in majority of Asian countries the main mode of small travel is on foot at least upto coming to a main road from where you can have other means of travel.
    People residing in the area know all the routes better than any map and they are latest.
    Incidentally, is the net availability so easy in Baghdad?


  2. so simply block access from those country, goes again freedom of information but if their are so scare but event if their remove GE or stop them to connect to server their gone take the good old papper map and do the same thing GE can plan an terroist attack only humman can do such thing some people use Excel to do budjet of Mafia boss….does excel is a war tool ???? some people use computer in irak…deos computer are war tool….some people use toillet papper….does toillet papper is war tool…..are we paranoid about the terorist….YES!!!

  3. Math said: “so simply block access from those country”

    I thought we were supposed to be liberating them, not implementing some sort of strange Chinese-like Internet censorship.

    Ben Franklin said: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”