Saturday, March 8, 2008
Google Pulls Pentagon Images From Online Internet Map Service
Google Maps has removed Pentagon images of US military bases from its online Internet service.
Google Pulls Pentagon Images From Online Internet Map Service
Google has removed Pentagon images of US military bases from its online Internet Map service.
The Pentagon says the online images posted on Google's online street level map service poses a security threat to US military bases.
"We have been contacted by the military," Google spokesman Larry Yu said. "In those instances where they have expressed concerns about the imagery, we have accommodated their requests."
The Defense Department, which is still studying how many images are available, has also banned Google teams from filming video images on bases.
"We've got to get a sense of what is there and see how we can mitigate it," Gen. Gene Renuart, head of the military command responsible for homeland defense said.
However, because many images were taken from public streets, the military may not have a legal right to request that videos be pulled.
Street View, a feature of Google Maps, offers a ground level, 360-degree views of streets in 30 US cities. Web users can drive down a street, in a virtual sense, using their mouse to adjust views of roadside scenery.
The online Internet feature has become a popular service for drivers seeking to plan a trip to unfamiliar neighborhoods. However, from the outset, Street View has been a magnet of controversy over a potential privacy invasion of people captured in the images.
About Google Maps
Google Maps (for a time named Google Local) is a free web mapping service application and technology provided by Google that powers many map-based services including the Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder and embedded maps on third-party websites via the Google Maps API. It offers street maps, a route planner, and an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world.
A related product is Google Earth, a standalone program for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux which offers enhanced globe-viewing features.
Google Maps features a map that users can pan (by dragging the mouse) and zoom (by using the mouse wheel). Users may enter an address, intersection or general area to quickly find it on the map.
Users can also search for businesses and attractions (for example, theatres, restaurants and hotels) in or near a given place. For example, a user can enter a query such as "Waffles in Ottawa" to find restaurants serving waffles in the city.
Like many other map services, Google Maps can generate driving directions between any pair of locations in the United States and Canada and within certain other countries. It shows turn-by-turn instructions, an estimate of the trip time, and the distance between the two locations. Since July 2007, a user can drag any point on the route to another location to add a waypoint, and instantly see the revised route and length while dragging.
Starting November 21, 2007, users with a Google account can adjust the location of markers for businesses and other destinations. According to a video posted on "YouTube" "Sometimes a location can be a little off on a map and your friends can't find you. Now you can fix that." If a user moves the marker by more than 200 meters, the change must go through moderation before it appears online.
Google Maps offers five viewing modes by default: Map (topographic and street map), Satellite (satellite and high-resolution aerial photographs), "Terrain" (geographic features in high relief with street overlay), Street View (ground level 360 degree view of certain streets, introduced on May 30, 2007), and Traffic' (traffic congestion maps).
The "link to this page" link on each Google Maps map targets a URL which can be used to find the location on the map at a later time. The latitude and longitude can be used as input to NASA World Wind or TerraServer-USA, which in some cases have higher-resolution imagery.
Google Maps provides high-resolution satellite images for most urban areas in Canada and the United States (including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) as well as parts of New Zealand, Australia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Iraq, Japan, Taiwan, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Kuwait, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and many other countries. Google Maps also covers many cities including Moscow, Istanbul, and most of India.
All the images shown in Google Maps' satellite mode are at least a year old and in some places like New Jersey date back to 2001. Various governments have complained about the potential for terrorists to use the satellite images in planning attacks. Google has blurred some areas for security (mostly in the United States), including the U.S. Naval Observatory area (where the official residence of the Vice President is located), and until recently, the United States Capitol and the White House (which formerly featured erased housetop). Other well-known government installations are visible including Area 51 in the Nevada desert.
With the introduction of an easily pannable and searchable mapping and satellite imagery tool, Google's mapping engine prompted a surge of interest in satellite imagery. Sites were established which feature satellite images of interesting natural and man-made landmarks, including such novelties as "large type" writing visible in the imagery, as well as famous stadia and unique earth formations.
Although Google uses the word "satellite", some of the high-resolution imagery is aerial photography taken from airplanes rather than from satellites.
The GIS (Geographic Information System) data used in Google Maps are provided by Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ, while the small patches of high-resolution satellite imagery are largely provided by DigitalGlobe and its QuickBird satellite, with some imagery also from government sources. The main global imagery base called NaturalVue was derived from Landsat 7 imagery by MDA Federal (formerly Earth Satellite Corporation). This global image base provides the essential foundation for the entire application.
Extensibility and customization
Using the core engine and the map/satellite images hosted by Google, such tools can introduce custom location icons, location coordinates and metadata, and even custom map image sources into the Google Maps interface. The script-insertion tool Greasemonkey provides a large number of client-side scripts to customize Google Maps data, and the mygmaps.com website provides an interface for easily adding your own set of locations and viewing them on Google Maps.
Combined with photo sharing websites such as Flickr, a phenomenon called "memory maps" emerged. Using copies of the Keyhole satellite photos of their home towns or other favorite places, the users take advantage of image annotation features to provide personal histories and information regarding particular points of the area.
Google Maps API
When the API first launched, it lacked the ability to geocode addresses, requiring you to manually add points in (latitude, longitude) format. This has since been rectified.
At the same time as the release of the Google Maps API, Yahoo! released their own Maps API. Both were released to coincide with the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Conference. Yahoo! Maps lacks international support, but included a geocoder in the first release.
As of October 2006, Google Gadgets' Google maps implementation is much easier to use with just the need of one line of script. The drawback is that it is not as customizable as the full API.
In late 2006, Yahoo began a campaign to upgrade their maps, to compete better with Google Local and other online map companies. Several of the maps used in a survey were similar to Google maps.
Google Maps actively promotes the commercial use of their API. One of its earliest adopters at large scale are real estate mashup sites. Google's case study is about Nestoria, a property search engine in the UK and Spain.
Google Maps for Mobile
In late 2006, Google introduced a Java application called Google Maps for Mobile, which is intended to run on any Java based phone or mobile device. Most, if not all,[vague] web based features are available from within the application. On November 28th, 2007, Google Maps for Mobile 2.0 was released. It introduced a GPS-like location service that does not require a GPS receiver. This service is available for Nokia S60 devices, Windows Mobile Pocket PCs, Blackberries and some other smartphones
Google Maps parameters
In Google Maps, the URL parameters may be tweaked to offer views and options not normally available through on-screen controls.
For instance, the maximum zoom level offered is normally 18, but if higher-resolution images are available, changing the z parameter, which sets the zoom level, will allow the user to access them, as in this view of elephants or this view of people at a well deep in Chad, Africa using the parameter z=23.
A list of Google Maps parameters and their descriptions is available.
Posted by SANJIDA AFROJ at 6:02 PM