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America, June 29, 2005

Google's Spy Eye in the Sky

Next time you look up, smile!

its in rome
Hint: A famous place in Rome
it goes boom
So many Beijingers!
Oh my God is this hot!

Google just launched its Google Earth application and if you download it you can see amazingly detailed satellite images of everything from the Mall to your house. Images so detailed, you can see cars on the street, or if you look at Beijing, even people!

I just spent most of my day checking it out, or more precisely, checking out earth. Damn, it's cool. Starting local, I checked out my office building and my house. Then I just checked out where my bosses live - nice pads all - and mapped one of our offices in Iraq.

Then I started to wander around and noticed some interesting things. First of all, not much of the developing world is detailed to the street level of the developed world. While I can see much of urban North America and Northern Europe, only a handful of places were more than fuzz in South America, Africa, and Asia.

One of those places in Africa happens to be a nuclear reactor in Algeria. That is the second thing I found, the places that are detailed outside of urban centers usually have some odd military purpose. I still haven't figured out what this is near Cutralco, Argentina but it's interesting to check out North Korea and Iraq up close.

Closer to home, if you click the "3-D buildings" option on a map of NYC or DC, you can fly through downtown. You can even crash into buildings, just like some Saudis did a few years ago. I wonder how long before some folks start getting paranoid about how terrorists could use Google Earth?

Before they do, consider all the good things you can use it for. Like tracking logging in Brazil or better yet, land usage in our own backyards. Driving directions with visuals, or new places to visit, or old places you used to live. I found my apartments in Moscow, Beijing, Sydney, and London.

What can you find?

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