While doing research on prisons and internment for his archaeology PhD at Stanford, 28-year-old Adrian Myers happened to point Google Earth at Guantànamo Bay, the notorious US prison on the island of Cuba.
Shockingly, it wasn’t blurred out—the image was as clear as the one of your house. Of course, the government and military would prefer that information about Gitmo be kept locked up in some out-of-the-way place. But using Google Earth’s time slider, which calls up imagery from different dates, Myers saw significant growth in the prison’s footprint between April 2003 and November 2004. With another commercial satellite image from February 2008, he assembled a map of the holding pen’s expansion.
Recent earthquake response efforts in Haiti showed how comparing satellite imagery could help to identify physical changes in the damaged country and assist rescue workers. That same sort of imagery could play a similar role for urban planners.
January 11: buildings and roads. January 12: rubble.
The massive earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti last week toppled buildings and littered the capital city of Port-au-Prince with the crumbled concrete and shattered glass of a broken metropolis. The images beamed across the Internet show the grisly result of the devastating earthquake.
But then, a different kind of image popped up. Google Maps released a series of satellite images of different parts of the city, showing in the same scale Haiti's urban landscape shortly before and immediately after the earthquake.