Tragedy Illustrates How Satellite Images Can Be Useful

from the see? dept

India became the latest country to object to Google Earth on security grounds this week, even after a senior military official said the non-real-time images it had weren’t of much operational value. Now, its neighbor Pakistan is illustrating why shutting down access to satellite photos can do more harm than good. In the wake of the horrific earthquake there, the government demanded high-resolution satellite photos of the stricken Kashmir area be taken down, again, for security reasons. The problem is that relief agencies use the photos to determine which areas need the most urgent help, and for logistical matters like seeing what roads are still passable, and cutting off that information can slow relief efforts. The original article highlights how after Hurricane Katrina, online maps and satellite imagery were actively used to support relief efforts by allowing people to quickly and easily share information — a benefit offered by the availability of the satellite images that disappears when they’re no longer available. Apparently the UN has now said it will begin publicly disseminating the satellite photos again, but how much valuable time has already been lost?

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Comments on “Tragedy Illustrates How Satellite Images Can Be Useful”

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crystalattice (user link) says:

"National security" is a joke

Every country makes stupid laws and sometimes deadly mistakes all in the name of national security. It’s become the buzzword of politics.

Yes, some things are necessary for a nation’s security, but I’d guess 80-90% of all things created for “national security” are either just power grabs or incompetent thinking.

Sam Chunk says:

Re: Agreed, read this

I went to Fair Oaks mall, Fairfax,VA last weekend. When tried to take picture of my daughter in the play area, one security person appears and says no to photography. I was bit surprised as we always used to take lot of pictures in the mall. When I asked the same question to the security person, he handed over a card of all the rules and regulations of the mall.
In the name of so called ?SECURITY? we are losing our basic rights in this world!

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