Google Earth used to attack troops in Iraq

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.

Reader Interactions


  1. 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…

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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?

  5. 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!!

  6. 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 …

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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


  1. […] 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. […]