View Full Version : Google Earth

July 14th, 2005, 12:48 AM
Google has put a worldwide database of 3D satellite imagery, including some stunningly detailed shots of Manhattan island, on a free, downloadable beta. My apologies for those who already knew about this, but for those who don't, it is great fun and useful in viewing urban sites / layouts.


July 14th, 2005, 09:51 AM
It is an amazing application. Lots of fun, but the image deteriorates at a certain point.

July 14th, 2005, 10:58 AM
I could spend hours using Earth Google - really neat.

July 14th, 2005, 01:32 PM
It is an amazing application. Lots of fun, but the image deteriorates at a certain point.

The quality of the images definitlely varies by location. I actually could make out a very clear image of the home in Central Illinois where I grew up, as well as my college dorm room in Connecticut. Other, more rural places I've lived, however, do not come in so clear.

July 20th, 2005, 12:38 PM
3D models of both the new and pre-9/11 World Trade Center (both created by equitus) are available to download for Google Earth.

New World Trade Center (http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/download.php?Number=43432) (34.8kb)
Pre-9/11 World Trade Center (http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/download.php?Number=42769) (23.7kb)

Picture of both models by STR:


July 20th, 2005, 01:04 PM
No Mac version!

July 20th, 2005, 02:40 PM
From what I hear Google wants to work on the bugs on one platform, before they move on to others.

This prevents them from having to work out bugs on multiple platforms.

July 20th, 2005, 06:46 PM
The quality of the images definitlely varies by location. I actually could make out a very clear image of the home in Central Illinois where I grew up, as well as my college dorm room in Connecticut. Other, more rural places I've lived, however, do not come in so clear.

I checked Robert Moses Park and Haulover(sp?) Beach north of Miami. Both nude beaches. All I got was blurs. Filthy boy.

July 20th, 2005, 06:57 PM
I checked Robert Moses Park and Haulover(sp?) Beach north of Miami. Both nude beaches. All I got was blurs. Filthy boy.

My condolences. However, (I'm told) there are other places on the internet where one can find those kinds of pictures in better resolution.

July 24th, 2005, 11:58 PM
Below are some images I captured in Google Earth featuring the World Trade Center.
This model was created by equitus and can be downloaded here (http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/download.php?Number=42954).










July 25th, 2005, 05:54 AM
Wow - that's so cool :) Thanks for sharing with us. It reminds me how beautiful these buildings were.

How do we get the Statue of Liberty model?

OK, found it. The Google Earthe Statue of Liberty model was designed by ink_polaroid and is available for download here:

July 25th, 2005, 10:25 AM
Can the engine render the WTC as it will be after the memorial and Freedom Tower are done?

July 25th, 2005, 12:07 PM
Here's what is can show about the new WTC:



July 25th, 2005, 12:28 PM

July 25th, 2005, 12:48 PM
No problem. Sorry for the small images but my image host provided doesn't allow hosting large ones.

August 5th, 2005, 03:13 AM
With Google Earth 3D



The Beautiful Bryant Park

December 20th, 2005, 07:05 AM
December 20, 2005

Google Offers a Bird's-Eye View, and Some Governments Tremble


When Google introduced Google Earth, free software that marries satellite and aerial images with mapping capabilities, the company emphasized its usefulness as a teaching and navigation tool, while advertising the pure entertainment value of high-resolution flyover images of the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the pyramids.

But since its debut last summer, Google Earth has received attention of an unexpected sort. Officials of several nations have expressed alarm over its detailed display of government buildings, military installations and other important sites within their borders.

India, whose laws sharply restrict satellite and aerial photography, has been particularly outspoken. "It could severely compromise a country's security," V. S. Ramamurthy, secretary in India's federal Department of Science and Technology, said of Google Earth. And India's surveyor general, Maj. Gen. M. Gopal Rao, said, "They ought to have asked us."

Similar sentiments have surfaced in news reports from other countries. South Korean officials have said they fear that Google Earth lays bare details of military installations. Thai security officials said they intended to ask Google to block images of vulnerable government buildings. And Lt. Gen. Leonid Sazhin, an analyst for the Federal Security Service, the Russian security agency that succeeded the K.G.B., was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying: "Terrorists don't need to reconnoiter their target. Now an American company is working for them."

But there is little they can do, it seems, but protest.

Google Earth is the most conspicuous recent instance of increased openness in a digitally networked world, where information that was once carefully guarded is now widely available on personal computers. Many security experts agree that such increased transparency - and the discomfort that it produces - is an inevitable byproduct of the Internet's power and reach.

American experts in and outside government generally agree that the focus on Google Earth as a security threat appears misplaced, as the same images that Google acquires from a variety of sources are available directly from the imaging companies, as well as from other sources. Google Earth licenses most of the satellite images, for instance, from DigitalGlobe, an imaging company in Longmont, Colo.

"Google Earth is not acquiring new imagery," said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, which has an online repository of satellite imagery. "They are simply repurposing imagery that somebody else had already acquired. So if there was any harm that was going to be done by the imagery, it would already be done."

Google Earth was developed as a $79-a-year product by a small company called Keyhole that Google bought last year; it was reintroduced as a free downloadable desktop program in June. It consists of software that can be downloaded onto a personal computer and used to "fly over" city streets, landmarks, buildings, mountains, redwood forests and Gulf Stream waters. Type in any street address in the United States, Canada or Britain, or the longitude and latitude for any place - or even terms like "pyramids" or "Taj Mahal" - and the location quickly zooms into focus from outer space.

It was in the 1990's that the federal government started allowing commercial satellite companies to make and sell high-resolution images, to allow American companies to compete in a growing market.

But a number of security restrictions apply to those companies. For instance, United States law requires that images of Israel shot by American-licensed commercial satellites be made available only at a relatively low resolution. Also, the companies' operating licenses allow the United States government to put any area off limits in the interests of national security. A 24-hour delay is mandated for images of especially high resolution.

Vipin Gupta, a security analyst at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, said the time delays were crucial, saying that in the national security sphere much can change between the time an image is taken and when it is used by the public.

"You can get imagery to determine whether there is a military base or airfield, but if you want to count aircraft, or determine whether there are troops there at a particular time, it is very difficult to do," Mr. Gupta said. "It's not video."

Andrew McLaughlin, a senior policy counsel at Google, said the company had entered discussions with several countries over the last few months, including Thailand, South Korea and, most recently, India.

India may be particularly sensitive to security issues because of its long-running border disputes with Pakistan, its rival nuclear power, and recurring episodes of terrorism. Since 1967, it has forbidden aerial photographs of bridges, ports, refineries and military establishments, and outside companies and agencies are required to have those images evaluated by the government. High-resolution satellite photos face similar restrictions in India, which has its own sophisticated satellite imaging program.

Mr. Ramamurthy, the Indian science official, acknowledged that "there is very little we can do to a company based overseas and offering its service over the Internet." But General Rao, the Indian surveyor general, said the Indian government had sent a letter asking Google "to show sensitive sites, which we will list - areas such as the presidential residence and defense installations - in very low-resolution images."

Mr. McLaughlin said he had not yet seen such a letter; he said talks with India had centered specifically on images of the Kashmir border, long disputed by India and Pakistan.

Meetings with Indian officials or those from other nations have yet to result in a request that Google remove or downgrade any information, Mr. McLaughlin said. Nor, he said, has the United States government ever asked Google to remove information.

The same cannot be said for Mr. Pike, whose Web site has images of nuclear test sites and military bases in much sharper focus than can be found on Google Earth.

Last year, Mr. Pike said, he was asked by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, an arm of the Defense Department, to remove from his site some of the maps of cities in Iraq that the Coalition Provisional Authority had created for planning cellphone service.

Mr. Pike said he had complied, but added that the incident was a classic example of the futility of trying to control information. "To think that the same information couldn't be found elsewhere was not a very safe assumption," he said.

Dave Burpee, a spokesman for the agency, said that the incident was relatively isolated, and that Mr. Pike had been asked to remove the maps because they were marked "limited distribution." A service like Google Earth, on the other hand, contains nothing classified or restricted.

An outcry over security was the last thing John Hanke was thinking five years ago when he joined in founding Keyhole with the aim of using satellite and aerial photography to create a three-dimensional world map. The idea, said Mr. Hanke, an entrepreneur who founded two video game companies before starting Keyhole, was to make video games more interesting.

Now Mr. Hanke, as a general manager at Google in charge of Google Earth, finds himself in the thick of frequent discussions at Google and with outsiders about transparency. He speaks enthusiastically of the benefits of openness. "A lot of good things come out of making information available," he said, and proceeded to list a few: "disaster relief, land conservation and forest management for fighting wildfires."

The images, which Google Earth expects to update roughly every 18 months, are a patchwork of aerial and satellite photographs, and their relative sharpness varies. Blurriness is more often than not an indication of the best quality available for a location.

Chuck Herring, a spokesman for DigitalGlobe, said that to the best of his knowledge, the federal government had never asked his company to obscure or blur images. Similarly, Mr. Hanke said no specific areas on Google Earth lacked high-resolution data because of federal restrictions.

For a brief period, photos of the White House and adjacent buildings that the United States Geological Survey provided to Google Earth showed up with certain details obscured, because the government had decided that showing details like rooftop helicopter landing pads was a security risk. Google has since replaced those images with unaltered photographs of the area taken by Sanborn, a mapping and imagery company, further illustrating the difficulty of trying to control such information.

As for security issues raised by other countries, Mr. Hanke said, "When we reach out and engage with knowledgeable people, the concern tends to subside."

Still, imagery is growing harder than ever to control, especially as it makes its way around the Internet. Several countries, notably Nigeria, China and Brazil, have recently launched satellites, making it harder for any one government to impose restrictions.

"When you have multiple eyes in the sky, what you're doing is creating a transparent globe where anyone can get basic information about anyone else," said Mr. Gupta, the Sandia analyst. His recommendation to the Indian government, he said, would be to accept the new reality: "Times are changing, and the best thing to do is adapt to the advances in technology."

Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting for this article.

* Copyright 2005The New York Times Company

December 20th, 2005, 11:08 AM
Mr. Ramamurthy, the Indian science official, acknowledged that "there is very little we can do to a company based overseas and offering its service over the Internet."


That is too Ironic for words.

August 26th, 2008, 03:08 PM
Google Earth increasingly compliant with censorship requests: US intelligence report

John Byrne
Published: Tuesday August 26, 2008 (http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Google_Earth_compliant_with_government_requests_08 26.html)

Google has becoming increasingly compliant to government requests to block purportedly sensitive information -- including images of Tibet, military installations and even a General Electric research plant -- according to a new report prepared by the Open Source Center for the Bush Administration's Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and reports circulated online about areas Google has blocked or blurred.

The research report was not approved for public release but was leaked to Secrecy News (view pdf (http://www.fas.org/irp/dni/osc/google.pdf)). It is prepared entirely on public information -- so called "open source" intelligence. But it paints a picture of an increasingly pliant global communications juggernaut, willing to do business with authoritarian regimes and US government agencies at the expense of transparency.

China, for instance, has an "online geographical information security management and coordination group" which regularly browses online mapping sites.

"When problems are discovered, they are either raised with Google's China headquarters or through diplomatic channels," the report says.

"Google has been very cooperative in the course of communications," a Chinese spokesman remarked.

Among the areas Google blurs out in China includes, not surprisingly, Tibet/Xinjiang Province. Other areas of Asia that have been clouded include northern areas of Pakistan -- it's unknown why or who might have requested the omission.

Google also censors certain sites in India. India may also be taking measures to hide their facilities from satellites. According to the report, "India's army announced that it had taken evasive measures against the 'intrusive photographs of strategic installations.'"

Google sometimes uses older images to replace existing ones to erase, say, the movement of troops in Iraq. After a January 2007 report that terrorists were attacking British bases based on Google Earth imagery, Google replaced images of these sites with photographs taken before the war. The report also claims that al Qaeda militants used Google Earth to target oil facilities in Yemen.

They also blotted out a British eavesdropping base and Trident nuclear facilities in Scotland.

Myriad nuclear power plants and military installations have been blurred out. For a partial list, see IT Security's "51 Things You Aren't Allowed to See on Google Maps (http://www.itsecurity.com/features/51-things-not-on-google-maps-071508/)."

General Electric's main plant missing

Think countries are the only ones benefiting from Google's largesse?

* General Electric World Research Laboratories and General Electric Main Plant in Schenectady, NY are blocked in Google, according to IT Security (http://www.itsecurity.com/features/51-things-not-on-google-maps-071508/). The mulitbillion-dollar US company's website says the research component hosts more than 3,000 of "the best and brightest researchers spread out at four multi-disciplinary facilities around the world."

* William Hurt's Home: This actor’s home outside of Paris is hazy.

* Playland Amusement Park in Rye, NY: Google will not let you in on the fun at this amusement park, which boasts arcade games and 45 major rides.

Given that the US intelligence report was prepared only from open sources, it seems likely that Google has complied with other requests to censor or blur out information. The US report cites no instances of the US asking for changes in Google's database, though IT security cites dozens of instances where the company has blocked out viewing access to US military sites -- including the White House.

Some countries are even developing Google Earths of their own in response to the threat of satellite transparency. Digital Thailand is building one; India's Space Research Organization plans another in late 2008, and China too plans "China Earth, Google China, or Images China," that will supposedly make its debut in 2009.

August 26th, 2008, 03:33 PM
Some things I can see, like military encampments/troop positions, and possibly sensitive bases and the like.

But bowing under pressure from China to forego any pictures of that area of Tibet outside of China is really piss-poor arse kissing.

Same thing for the research site.

If private citizens want anonymity, they should, I guess, be able to get a "blank out" on the map, an outline of their property line with their name on it (hey, it IS a map you know!). But that is a tough one. Sometimes you want to have a bit of privacy, a place to hide from the public if you are famous and want some time away.

OR if you are apolitician and you just want to hide.... *cough*CHENEY*cough*

August 26th, 2008, 04:47 PM

News - August 25, 2008

Moo North: Cattle and Deer May Sense Earth's Magnetic Field

Google Earth photos and field studies reveal animals lining up north–south


By JR Minkel

Forget cow tipping—next time you want to mess with a bovine friend, try waving a magnet in its face.

Researchers have found that when grazing or resting, cattle and deer tend to point their bodies toward Earth's magnetic poles, which suggests they are able to sense magnetic fields in the same way as many smaller animals.

German and Czech researchers used Google Earth satellite images to look at 8,510 domestic cattle in 308 pastures located randomly across six continents. They also studied body alignment in 2,974 red and roe deer in the Czech Republic, either by photographing the animals or checking the impressions they left in snow.

The team reports in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that the animals tended to point north or south but not in other directions. When the researchers were able to examine the position of the head in the case of red and roe deer, they found the animals tended to point north.

The group ruled out other reasons, such as wind or sun, for why grazing animals might orient themselves that way. There was no consistent wind pattern among the different locations, study author Hynek Burda, a zoologist at the University of Duisburg–Essen in Germany, says. And if the animals were basking in the sun, researchers would have seen them standing outside of one another's shadows.

More tellingly, in places such as the coastal U.S. where the direction of the magnetic north pole differs from geographic north (the latter defined by Earth's axis of rotation), the group found that cattle positioned themselves toward the magnetic poles.

Researchers have found evidence for a magnetic sense in animals ranging from fruit flies to mice and mole rats to fish, amphibians and birds (but not humans). The study shows that "the magnetic sense is virtually ubiquitous," says sensory biologist John Phillips of Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, who has studied it in other animals. "It's not simply in the realm of animals that move very large distances."

The sense can come from small magnetic particles in cells, but some animals such as birds also seem to perceive magnetic fields as changes in light intensity, due to effects of the fields on light-sensitive pigments in the eye.

To look for a magnetic sense in larger animals, the group's first idea was to study camping humans, Burda says. "We wanted to study some kind of spontaneous behavior, because learning experiments can sometimes become very frustrating," he says.

Migratory animals may use the ability to get a sense of direction or construct a map in their heads for navigating, according to Phillips. Evidence for a magnetic sense in cattle and deer suggests to him that it may be a more basic tool for mentally mapping their everyday surroundings and learning new landmarks. "I think it'll…make us rethink what this kind of sensory ability is used for," he says.

It may also come in handy if you're ever lost in a cow pasture.

It may seem like useless info, but if cows are, well, contented to be aligned with the magnetic poles, what are the ramifications on milk production if the barn stalls are aligned E-W?

August 26th, 2008, 06:04 PM
It's my impression that birds migrate by sensing magnetic fields.

edit - According to google maps, my bed is facing northwest.

August 27th, 2008, 07:55 AM
You all probably know, but there is now Google Street View, Street level 360 panorama of varios cities, including New York. just type in google street view.

August 27th, 2008, 09:35 AM
Is it possible they face that way because they can get the most sun?

Other things happen in a north-south or east-west direction you know. They may be facing that way for a completely different reason, and we are just blindly associating until someone can prove it wrong... :p

(Oddly enough, I think it was mentioned like that on an episode of Dr. Who of all things....)

August 27th, 2008, 10:10 AM

The group ruled out other reasons, such as wind or sun, for why grazing animals might orient themselves that way. There was no consistent wind pattern among the different locations, study author Hynek Burda, a zoologist at the University of Duisburg–Essen in Germany, says. And if the animals were basking in the sun, researchers would have seen them standing outside of one another's shadows.

August 27th, 2008, 10:27 AM
In a response to an article, someone suggested that cows are avoiding the effects of their flatulence by aligning themselves perpendicular to the prevailing east-west winds.

I'm not sure, but I think it was sarcasm. :)

At any rate, the researchers discounted wind as a factor - even breaking wind.

It's odd though that cows, like most herd animals, don't position themselves every which way, so they can collectively look in all directions for predators.

August 27th, 2008, 12:24 PM
I think cows have lost that "instinct".

Like I said though, sometimes it is not one reason that makes a thing the way it is. These guys just like the idea of Cow Compasses.

October 16th, 2008, 06:35 AM
Cow Compass is so promising natural-tech-idea :D Finding forgotten or nearly-secret objects is much more interesting , I think, like nuclear submarines and others..

January 19th, 2009, 07:46 PM
GeoEye-1, the “Google satellite,” will capture the Obama Inauguration from space

MG SIEGLER | JANUARY 16TH, 2009 (http://venturebeat.com/2009/01/16/geoeye-1-the-google-satellite-will-capture-the-inauguration-from-space/)

GeoEye-1, the powerful imagery satellite that is perhaps best known as the “Google satellite” (because Google has a deal to use its pictures (http://venturebeat.com/2008/08/29/sky-rockets-in-flight-google-maps-delight/) for its Google Maps and Google Earth products), will be focusing its lens on the Inauguration of President Obama next week. The company notes that while there will be plenty of cameras covering the event on the ground, and some in the air, GeoEye-1 will be the only one offering a perspective from space.

The satellite will be 423 miles above Washington, D.C. on January 20 at 11:19AM EDT. While it will be moving 17,000 miles per hour, it will still be able to look down at the Earth and see objects about a half meter in size. The image [linked here (http://venturebeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/geoeye-dc.jpg)] (which I actually had to shrink due to upload size limits) is one the satellite took a few weeks ago of the area. Last month, we posted a picture (http://venturebeat.com/2008/11/21/googles-campus-as-seen-from-the-google-satellite/) that the satellite took of Google’s campus.

It’s not Google who is requesting these images, and it’s not the government either. Instead, it’s a company initiative by GeoEye.

“An image of the Inauguration has been requested by many news organizations,” a GeoEye spokesperson tells us. “So, if the weather cooperates, the image will be distributed to news organizations and bloggers around the world. The image will be available about three hours after it’s taken.”

If you’d like some to see some footage a bit closer up on the action, you may want to check out one of the live streams (http://venturebeat.com/2009/01/16/download-obama-from-youtube/).

January 19th, 2009, 08:24 PM
And they worry about us citizens with cameras in hand :cool:

January 20th, 2009, 09:39 AM
Don't worry, Dick Cheney will be blurred out for National Security.

January 21st, 2009, 10:44 AM
Update: Here are the pictures from President Obama’s inaugrual, as seen from space. (http://venturebeat.com/2009/01/20/pictures-president-obamas-inauguration-as-seen-from-space/)

January 22nd, 2009, 03:31 PM
^Cool. I am one of those dots.

January 23rd, 2009, 09:32 AM
So you went to DC.

We thought about it. Had an invite from friends who worked the campaign in VA. In the end, big-screen TV at my brother's house won out. Most of the family took the day off and we had a party.

January 23rd, 2009, 10:44 AM
Didn't take much for the DC/MD/VA cousins to persuade me and my siblings to come down. They have houses/apartments to stay in, offices downtown for staging, local bar knowledge, and some tickets (which I lost out on).

I've been getting lots of negative comments since I got back, like I must be crazy for standing out in the cold with all the crowds for something we couldn't see up close, but there was nothing negative about that experience. It was wonderful, no regrets whatsoever! The right clothes negate the cold. There was quite a bit of walking, but the festive crowds were polite and respectful, and it never was too densely packed despite how it looked on t.v. Looking at that satellite photo shows there was a lot more open space than it seemed from the perspective of the Capitol.

The people in my section were...let's say, "less than respectful" whenever they showed Bush or Cheney on the jumbotrons. Some pretty hilarious comments actually, I mean come on! Cheney in a wheelchair? Not to mention a rousing rendition of "Hit the Road Jack" when W's helicopter flew over the Mall.

January 23rd, 2009, 10:54 AM
How about...

Hey, hey, hey.

January 23rd, 2009, 11:05 AM
^LOTS of that. :)

The very first time they showed Bush you could hear a pin drop it got so quiet, which then lead to boisterous laughter. After that, the genie was out of the bottle.

January 23rd, 2009, 11:16 AM
My sister-in-law is African American, and they've had a long, tough road. That was the place for me to be.

Other choices were Foley Square or one of the Downtown pubs. One of my favorites got some press.


January 23rd, 2009, 11:46 AM
Nice. It was quite a day everywhere.

January 23rd, 2009, 04:41 PM
I watched the live coverage here on the BBC, great moment to see.

April 3rd, 2009, 03:04 PM
Anti-terror bill targets online mapping services

By Jim Sanders
Published: Thursday, Apr. 2, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1A (http://www.sacbee.com/topstories/story/1748556.html)

California has a new idea for thwarting terrorism: Attackers might not hit what they can't see.

Assemblyman Joel Anderson is pushing to ban online mapping services from publishing clear photos of key buildings used by the public – but fuzzy images would be fine.

"All I'm asking is that they reduce the level of detail," he said. "They can either smear it or back (the camera) off."

America's enemies benefit from detailed aerial, satellite and street-view images of schools, churches, hospitals and government buildings, Anderson contends.

Terrorists have push-button access to minute details of the buildings' exits, windows, facades, access routes – even rooftop vents, he said.

The Alpine Republican points to news reports that terrorists who attacked various locations in Mumbai, India, last year used digital maps and other high-technology equipment.

"We should not be helping bad people map their next target," Anderson said.

Violators of Anderson's legislation, Assembly Bill 255, could face fines of $250,000 per day and prison terms of up to three years.

Critics dismiss the bill as a feel-good measure that would not stop terrorists and could prompt all 50 states to adopt differing standards on mapping browsers.

Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, D-Burbank, called the legislation a "fairly superficial response."

"I don't see that it's going to contribute a lot to the global war on terrorism if we prohibit al-Qaida from using Google in California," Krekorian said.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, an Irvine Republican and former military intelligence officer, said the bill could open a Pandora's box.

"My concern is, what's next?" DeVore said. "Do politicians then demand that we blur out images of the homes of law enforcement personnel – or elected officials?"

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state homeland security officials have taken no position on AB 255, which has not yet been debated in legislative committees.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security declined substantive comment Tuesday but said it has not expressed security concerns to Google.

Google, a kingpin of online mapping, contends that AB 255 may violate free-speech rights and impair interstate commerce.

Microsoft Corp., which also provides an online mapping service, declined comment on AB 255.

Passage of the bill would not bar professional or amateur photographers, commercial firms or public agencies from posting detailed photos of key buildings on the Internet.

"Were this bill to pass, the same satellite images would still be publicly available," Google states in a letter to lawmakers.

Restricting detailed imagery is not unprecedented, however. Google's street-view maps already blur the faces of passing people and cars.

The U.S. Department of Defense banned the commercial gathering of detailed street-view imagery on military bases and installations last year after Google published detailed images of Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

Anderson said that detailed photos of Israeli buildings also are restricted. He points to news reports of officials in India vowing to seek restrictions on online mapping.

"I don't want to wait until a Californian dies," Anderson said of AB 255. "I want to act now to protect them."

Republican Assemblywoman Connie Conway said that Tulare County teenagers have used online maps to identify foreclosed homes with swimming pools so that they can trespass and skateboard in them.

Even if AB 255 would not stop terrorism, it could send a valuable message, she said.

"Why should we make it easier?" Conway said of attacks against the United States.

Pedestrians in downtown Sacramento had mixed views when told of the bill.

"Anything that you can do to make things safer, I'm for, " said Lisa Laprade, 42, of Rancho Cordova.

But Jon Strohl, 34, of Sacramento said he is reluctant to support Anderson's plan.

"How many rights do we need to give up to protect ourselves?" he said.

Brian Jackson, associate director of the Rand Corp.'s homeland security research program, said terrorists tend not to rely exclusively upon satellite images, which can be outdated or fail to contain all the information needed.

"Most terrorists do on-site surveillance before they attack," Jackson said.

Elaine Filadelfo, Google spokeswoman, said only that the firm has met with Anderson and plans to continue doing so.

In a three-page letter to lawmakers, however, Google says AB 255 amounts to censorship against detailed maps that could be invaluable in relief efforts after emergencies or natural disasters.

Google also noted technical concerns. For example, the street address of a church would not always be enough information to pinpoint what would require blurring, it said.

"We don't know where that church is relative to that address – which side of the street, how far up or down the street, and the size of the church property or lot," Google said.

"We do not know if there are new churches, older buildings that are no longer churches, a church that meets in a private meeting facility or auditorium, and so on."

Privately, Google says it works cooperatively to address security concerns. The firm produces street-view images but obtains from other sources, including public agencies, many of the aerial and satellite photos it posts online.

Anderson said he is willing to compromise, including carving out exceptions for emergency response and allowing detailed views of key buildings if requested by their owners.

But Anderson has no plans to drop AB 255.

"For us to ignore (a threat) would be unconscionable," he said.

Call Jim Sanders (jsanders@sacbee.com), Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538.

April 3rd, 2009, 03:36 PM
Passage of the bill would not bar professional or amateur photographers, commercial firms or public agencies from posting detailed photos of key buildings on the Internet.

How much you wabt to bet that that list is never made truly public?

I can see another round of police harassing people for taking photos. ESPECIALLY for such terrorist targets as:

Rocerfeller Center
The Crysler (sp) building.
The UN
The Mayors Mansion
ALL the monuments in Washington.

I mean, our nation is just not SAFE when so many people are taking pictures of this!!!!

Bottom line is that, yes, this satelite mapping IS handy to terrorists. It makes their lives easier. But if they can't find it online, a few thousand will get them up in a copter for an arial tour anyway. What, we want to start treating all of the US like it was under a military lockdown?

Sometimes it is easier to deal with the bed the dog lies in and give it a bath than pick out every single individual flea with a hammer.

December 23rd, 2009, 09:39 PM
Turning Google Street View Into Art
By Cliff Kuang on December 16, 2009 (http://www.fastcompany.com/pics/turning-google-street-view-art#0)

[Slideshow] (http://www.fastcompany.com/pics/turning-google-street-view-art#0)

The artist Jon Rafman (http://jonrafman.com/) is an alchemist. His best-known project takes the dumb, unblinking eye of Google Streetviews and turns it into an art medium. Combing through thousands upon thousands of images, he collects ones that feel like straight-up photography--images that suggest a hidden story; capture a fleeting, sweet moment; or simply document a beautiful landscape.

His collections first appeared as part of a long essay (http://www.artfagcity.com/2009/08/12/img-mgmt-the-nine-eyes-of-google-street-view/) on the blog Art Fag City, titled "The Nine Eyes of Street Views." But since then, Rafman's been busy: He's preparing the images for huge prints that will be displayed in an upcoming art exhibition, and he's also about to run a second printing of his book, 16 Google Street Views (http://googlestreetviews.com/) (the first printing disappeared almost immediately after it was announced). In advance of that, he generously provided Fast Company with a peek at his collection--many of which haven't been published before. At least not on Google Street Views, anyway.

December 23rd, 2009, 09:47 PM
Some interesting stuff... I wonder what permissions and ownership all this "art" has......

November 12th, 2010, 06:39 AM
Not sure what to think about this.

Open Books: Street View...

Say what you will about the privacy concerns raised by Google Street View, it does provide one valuable service besides the ability to virtually visit Johannesburg: catching criminals in the act.

Following on the theory about stopped watches being right twice a day, the millions of snap shots taken by the service capture all sorts of behavior (http://www.streetviewfun.com/), good and bad, including drug dealing in Williamsburg (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40117565/ns/local_news-new_york_ny/).

On Wednesday, police arrested seven members of an alleged heroin trafficking ring, some of whom can be seen on Street View (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Jackson+Street+and+Kingsland+Avenue&hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=vl) lolling about the corner of Kingsland Avenue and Jackson Street. As Free Williamsburg notes (http://www.freewilliamsburg.com/im-waiting-for-my-man/), these guys were apparently on the corner so frequently as to become part of the scenery. It would have been surprising had they not been spotted by Google’s all-seeing eye.


November 12th, 2010, 07:13 AM
Not sure what to think about this.

Open Books: Street View...

Say what you will about the privacy concerns raised by Google Street View, it does provide one valuable service besides the ability to virtually visit Johannesburg: catching criminals in the act.

Following on the theory about stopped watches being right twice a day, the millions of snap shots taken by the service capture all sorts of behavior (http://www.streetviewfun.com/), good and bad, including drug dealing in Williamsburg (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40117565/ns/local_news-new_york_ny/).

On Wednesday, police arrested seven members of an alleged heroin trafficking ring, some of whom can be seen on Street View (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Jackson+Street+and+Kingsland+Avenue&hl=en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=vl) lolling about the corner of Kingsland Avenue and Jackson Street. As Free Williamsburg notes (http://www.freewilliamsburg.com/im-waiting-for-my-man/), these guys were apparently on the corner so frequently as to become part of the scenery. It would have been surprising had they not been spotted by Google’s all-seeing eye.


re: "Not sure what to think about this." and "Google’s all-seeing eye".

A question for our American members: let's say another country (any country, friend or foe) had come up with the idea of photographing homes and buildings... from the street and from above... photos of your home and neighborhood ....and putting it all on the internet for all to access.

Would you feel comfortable about it?

November 12th, 2010, 09:04 AM
It's kind of creepy, but very cool to be able to see up close and in detail, with a few clicks, my sister's yard 3,000 miles away.

November 12th, 2010, 10:37 AM
The ultimate will be when google integrates a pictometry like service into google earth (oblique arplane views, currently available on bing maps "bird's eye view")

November 12th, 2010, 11:48 AM
At least they blur objects like license plates and faces in street-view.

Google states they will respond to any request to remove 'objectionable imagery' from a street view.


November 12th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Oh! Google Earth is terrific. It's really the best tool for planning travel.

Ya swoop right in there and find where you'd like to stay; what the neighborhoods are like...the homes and streets... as well as any bad elements;)

November 12th, 2010, 05:09 PM
Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic have wisely taken a stand:

German Street View goes live with enhanced privacy

The first images via Google's Street View service in Germany are live after months of wrangling over privacy. The first town to be mapped on the service is Oberstaufen, in Bavaria. Germany is the first country to have negotiated with Google to allow citizens to opt out before the service goes live. Almost 250,000 Germans have requested that their properties be pixellated in the final imagery.

But in a recent blog on the German roll-out the search giant warned that it would not be able to respond to all requests immediately. "Given how complex the process is, there will be some houses that people asked us to blur that will be visible when we launch the imagery in a few weeks time. We've worked very hard to keep the numbers as low as possible but int any system like this there will be mistakes," Andreas Turk, product manager for Street View in Germany said in his blog.

Street View is available in around 20 countries and allows users to walk through town and cities using photos taken by specially-equipped cars.
But some countries are becoming suspicious of the service, following complaints from citizens that their privacy has been invaded when the images are captured.

In Germany, the question of whether to allow the service sparked a nationwide debate. During its assessment of the Street View service, the German data protection agency asked Google to audit the information being collected by the cars. It was via this request that Google discovered that its Street View cars were collecting personal data from unsecured wi-fi networks, including whole e-mails, addresses and phone numbers. The discovery, which Google has said was an accident, sparked investigations around the world. Google immediately grounded its Street View cars and alerted data commissioners in countries affected. The German investigation of the circumstances under which Google collected the data is still ongoing.

While some German citizens do not want to take part in Street View mapping, others have embraced it. Oberstaufen's mayor and tourist board publicly invited Google to put their town on the map and even baked a cake for the occasion. Google plans to launch Street View in 20 German cities in the near future. Alongside the images of the Bavarian town, Google also released a special preview tour of the country, with images of landmarks, including Bayern Munich's football stadium and the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Google confirmed that Germany was the first country to allow users to opt out of the service before it was live, saying it was "obeying local privacy laws", adding that it would not become standard practice in other countries. But the change of heart is likely to reignite the debate about Street View and privacy. In the UK, people can request that their properties be removed from Street View - but only after the images have gone live.

In a parliamentary debate on privacy last week, Conservative MP Mark Lancaster raised the case of a women's refuge in his constituency which had asked to be removed from Street View and received no response. Google said it had not heard the case but that it removed images quickly when asked. The UK's information commissioner ruled out the possibility of allowing people to opt out of the service, saying it was the equivalent of a TV station asking individual permission from every member of the crowd before televising a football match.

But other countries have taken a tougher line. Italy has asked Google to give citizens notice before starting mapping operations while the Czech Republic has banned Google from any further image capture, saying it invades peoples' privacy.



And this:

Street View has hit problems in many other places too. In mid-October Canada's privacy commissioner said Google's accidental gathering of personal data while snapping images amounted to a "serious violation" of its privacy laws.

In September, the Czech government banned Google from taking any new photos for the service.

In August, authorities in South Korea raided Google's offices prior to the switch-on of a version for the nation.

Full article:


November 12th, 2010, 07:50 PM
Would you feel comfortable about it?

Google street view has been around for a while and can be very useful in a non-invasive way, especially for architecture lovers like us, but I acknowledge the privacy implications. In this case, though, I was concerned more about its use -and more particularly potential abuse - in "catching criminals in the act". Great in theory, but perhaps not in the hands of some of those who uphold law and order? Innocent acts interpreted otherwise for expediency?

November 12th, 2010, 08:01 PM
If you are doing something where someone in a car can see you driving by, then maybe you should:

-Buy blinds
-Clothe your children
-Fornicate in the BACK room

November 12th, 2010, 08:52 PM
vpike.com is very detailed also, & offers a standing-on-the-street view, as well as moving down any street as if you were walking down it yourself as well as turn corners. It lets you pan up or l/r with their compass. You can use r/l arrow keys also. Very close, as if you're 15-20 feet from the front door. Unless you can see a street #, or you already know it, don't rely 100% on the pop-up address baloon.

November 12th, 2010, 09:06 PM
...and speaking of privacy, I was "virtual walking" down one street, & zoomed in on a car where a guy was sitting reading a paper. I could almost make out what paper it was. Had red print on top. Another street showed an older gentlemen who appeared to be staring straight at the camera, so I don't know if they take the pics/film from a moving vehicle or what.

November 12th, 2010, 09:15 PM
yes, a moving vehicle


November 12th, 2010, 09:33 PM
The latest generation cameras have gotten very small. One company that supplies cameras for Google is Immersive Media. The camera is called a Dodeca 2360. (http://www.immersivemedia.com/products/capture.html) 11 lenses take simultaneous video in all directions. Software stitches the views together.


November 12th, 2010, 11:31 PM
That is creepy. I could imagine Rod Serling thinking it up.

November 13th, 2010, 03:09 AM
^ It very well could be an episode.


Instead of the "me... me": "it's wonderful for travel"...."I'm into architecture" etc. I think we should stop to also consider the bigger picture and principle.

I think of that frog in boiling water.

November 13th, 2010, 03:00 PM
Speaking of bad elements.

Look, some people can go ahead and get all scary with suspicion and disdain at every new thing on the horizon, from Google Earth to multi-story Muslim community centers or Lady GaGa, but technology and information march forward and this surveillance stuff is hardly new anyway. The genie is out of the bottle. Of course we should all be concerned with privacy...I don't relish the fact that cameras cover nearly all of my neighborhood, that I'm being recorded in some way or another at every moment that I'm not in the privacy of my home. They recently put cameras in the hallways of each floor of my building. There had been a burglary. So what are we gonna do? There are trade offs. The Google Earth type of technology brings immense benefits in so many ways. There are people who are on top of the obvious types of privacy invasion that could possibly result, and Google has seemed to be cooperative in respecting concerns when they are raised...so?

So I can't be out on my street without being sure an Earth cam won't catch me carrying my bagels home? So what. Kvetching and moaning about Google Earth seems silly to me when the information has already been available elsewhere and the imagery they use is up to three years old. In any case, it certainly isn't real time, in the unlikely event somebody wants to stalk me.

As far as the big picture goes, here it is: the technology will get better and better, to the point where our entire planet will be mapped with 3 dimensional representations. Related multimedia will be at our fingertips for any location, probably even immersive virtual realities that mimic an actual trip to a given location. Areas of national security will likely be blotted out, and pictures of Mrs. Smith sunning her private parts in the back yard will need to be removed of course. Other than that, what's the problem? What principle? Personally I like the following principle: that people, regardless of their financial or physical ability health-wise, can log onto the internet and observe topography, neighborhoods, vegetation, geological information, architecture, and whatever else about our Earth that their curiosity craves.

I'm sure some people were leery about the wheel too. All that speed could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

November 13th, 2010, 03:11 PM
think Google's cameras are invasive... look into the military's image taking satellite technology (think Hubble pointed down toward earth), they actually have one.

November 13th, 2010, 03:14 PM
More people seem to get up in arms about video; but are oblivious, and welcoming, of electronic surveillance, which is much more invasive.

Walk around with you face in a smart-phone, accessing sites, your accounts - systems know who you are, where you are, your travel routine, your preferences, not 2 or 3 years ago, but in real time.

November 13th, 2010, 03:24 PM
Much of this is a cultural difference. Europe has much tougher privacy laws and data collecting laws than the US.

And with private information, Europeans will have more trust in government and less trust in corporations.

November 13th, 2010, 03:44 PM
Ya, anyway... here's a fascinating addition to the Google Earth repertoire:

Google Earth Historical Layer Adds WWII Images (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2371280,00.asp)

The effects of World War II were far-reaching, but hard to put into perspective from the texts of history books. From the bombed-out streets of London to devastated monuments in Paris, Google is adding historical imagery to Google Earth to provide a more complete look at the widespread destruction caused by the war.

"There are history books, movies, and photographs, but they portray isolated places and events more than the connected whole," chief technology advocate Michael T. Jones, wrote in a blog post. "So we've addressed this by launching historical imagery in Google Earth in a number of new areas, including London in 1945, in coordination with archivists in these countries."

The new feature, made available Thursday, lets users see before and after images of places including buildings, monuments, and snapshots from everyday life.
Data like this was first made available when Google Earth 5.0 launched last February. Composite images from war-torn locales like Stuttgart, Germany; Naples, Italy; and Lyon, France showed the devastation of a conflict most people are too young to understand. Shots from Poland allowed users to see Warsaw, a beautiful city in 1935 that was 85 percent destroyed just 10 years later.

Google said Thursday's addition to these archival photographs includes most of 1945 London and Paris as well as other notable places in Europe. To discover these cities, type the name of the city in the upper left part of the browser and click the clock icon to launch historical imagery. Explorers can scroll through a timeline feature to determine the year they want to check out, from 1945 to present day. Current images are also available in Street View and Google Maps.

Last week, Google announced a partnership with Slooh to show live images from space via Google Earth's Sky layer.


November 14th, 2010, 08:38 AM
Corporate America wants us all to roll over and play dead.

From Google with their lack of concern for your privacy, to Monsanto with their genetically modified crops. You are expected to lay back and relax.

The kvetching and moaning in Europe over Google might make more sense if one understands our privacy laws and the environment that Google finds it's self in here:

Excepts from MSNBC:

‘La difference’ is stark in EU, U.S. privacy laws

European courts and lawmakers have been wrestling with the implications of technology and privacy ever since, often coming to conclusions that are foreign to their American counterparts.

In Europe, privacy is different

Some of those rulings might seem like a panacea for Americans who believe their privacy is slowly slipping away. In many parts of Europe, for example:

- Personal information cannot be collected without consumers’ permission, and they have the right to review the data and correct inaccuracies.

- Companies that process data must register their activities with the government.

- Employers cannot read workers’ private e-mail.

- Personal information cannot be shared by companies or across borders without express permission from the data subject.

- Checkout clerks cannot ask for shoppers’ phone numbers.

Those rights, and many others, stem from The European Union Directive on Data Protection of 1995, which mandated that each EU nation pass a national privacy law and create a Data Protection Authority to protect citizens' privacy and investigate attacks on it.

National laws come in several flavors, and emanate from varied traditions. But taken together, they are the backbone of a basic European principle: Privacy is a human right."

"The reason that privacy laws in Europe and the U.S. are so different springs from a basic divergence in attitude: Europeans reserve their deepest distrust for corporations, while Americans are far more concerned about their government invading their privacy."

Full article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15221111/ns/technology_and_science-privacy_lost


Privacy Laws Trip Up Google’s Expansion in Parts of Europe

Google is getting caught in a web of privacy laws that threaten its growth and the positive image it has cultivated as a company dedicated to doing good.

In Switzerland, data protection officials are quietly pressing Google to scrap its plans to introduce Street View, a mapping service that provides a vivid, 360-degree, ground-level photographic panorama from any address, which would violate strict Swiss privacy laws that prohibit the unauthorized use of personal images or property.

In Germany, where Street View is also not available, simply taking photographs for the service violates privacy laws.



IMHO, in the end Google will be successful here but forcing the company to include safeguards is a wise one.

November 14th, 2010, 11:30 AM
^Of course they will. And of course we should. Obvious stuff. Distrust of corporations at this point is a given and I don't think anybody here is against safeguards, or against pressuring corporations to do the right thing; personally it seems like I spent my entire twenties protesting against things like Monsanto's GMOs and corporate trade agreements from Miami to Seattle and DC.

But I also understand the bigger problem with corporations to be a global one and not just American...I understand that unfortunate trade agreements have been signed by parties including Europe...so I have to laugh when I read this:

Corporate America wants us all to roll over and play dead. because while that may be true, it's hardly limited to corporate America. Welcome to the Planet Earth, circa 2010. Pick your battle and fight it....God bless ya...but regarding Google Earth just realize that more detailed mapping of the planet's surface is inevitable...including streets and buildings and everything else that's already public... I'm glad so much of the information is being made easily available to us all, and not just the "corporations" or government.

November 14th, 2010, 12:01 PM
Continuing right along...the potential for these Google Earth historical layers I referred to in post #64 is incredible. This could be an evolution in how history (and probably everything else) will be presented to students in the future. It's tremendous.

March 4th, 2014, 12:16 AM
The Ends of the Road

Alan Taylor

Inspired in part by the great geography game GeoGuessr, I spent some time recently in Google Maps, finding the edges of their Street View image coverage. I've always been drawn to the end of the road, to the edges of where one might be allowed to travel, whether blocked by geographic features, international borders, or simply the lack of any further road. Gathered below is a virtual visit to a few of these road ends around the world -- borders, shorelines, dead ends and overlooks from New Zealand to Svalbard, from Alaska to South Africa.

At the end of the Milford Sound Highway, in Southland, New Zealand, part of Fiordland National Park. See it Mapped (https://www.google.com/maps/@-44.671636,167.92614,3a,75y,334.64h,96.28t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sP0b7FigE7cGTkE_85Vf6CA!2e0). (© Google, Inc.)

26 photos with Google street views (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2013/06/the-ends-of-the-road/100534/)

March 4th, 2014, 10:38 AM
To me, the ultimate end of the road is the impasse between North & South America, at the Darién Gap in Panama. It's where dreams die, so to speak!

No street view to be found here, unfortunately