Activism, Googlemaps and the new Keyhole technology

2 minute read

A few days ago, Google combined its amazing GoogleMaps technology with the satellite technology Keyhole which allows you to zoom in geographically with near-time satellite imagery on things from space.

While this is, for instance, very handy for figuring out what your apartment looks like from space and where to direct the aliens when they finally arrive, but obviously not the most practical application of the technology.

More practically and more ethically, imagine you’re an activist. I know more than a few of you are who are reading this. Now imagine using this to show the geological devastation apparent from say, clearcutting, or an oil spill or another sort of environmental disaster. You need a dramatic visual because you know that “if it bleeds, it leads” is the only way you can get media attention on critical issues these days. How about some context? What this thing looks like from space ?

Anyhow, mezzoblue beat me to it and, better than that, did it in my own backyard. Ever seen a clearcut ? Even while I worked with Greenpeace it was more a concept in my mind than something I had seen till I moved back here to Canada and to the West. Forestry companies make it sound like they are promoting good stewardship practices but the fact is, they’ve been incentivized by the BC government not to practice good conservation and liquidate faster than they replant.

It’s an amazing use of a new and brilliantly useful technology. I’m interesting to see what other uses will grow out of this. Less activist oriented, but more practical for recent home hunters, I noticed someone already has a fantastic hack linking Cragslist apartment listings to googlemaps. I used googlemaps just the other day to locate the closest bank branch to my new workplace. Very handy and saved me that annoying $1.50 ATM charge the banks levy up here when you don’t use your own bank’s ATMs.

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