Short news: Drugs, Dutch politics and disaster

  • Truly Frustrating: Truthbox has a post up with extensive images depicting overlays on Google Earth pinpointing poppy fields in Afghanistan and Colombia, but then doesn’t provide the files themselves so that we can have a go. Google Earth is interactive, people — it’s not a movie prop. [Update 2006-08-22: KML files are now added (see comments).]
  • In the Netherlands, Groningen city council members belonging to the Dutch liberal party VVD are demanding that Google Earth depict high resolution images of their town. “Every corner of the world is visible, and yet Groningen is still a grey smudge and that just not allowed,” says the local VVD leader. He feels the city council should make existing digital imagery available to Google ASAP. His reasoning: It’s a way for hotels and camping grounds to present themselves to a wider public very cheaply.
  • InformationWeek reports on Strong Angel III, a major disaster response exercise taking place in San Diego this week. Among the many tools at the disposal of first responders:
    A disaster scene mash-up based on the open source Sahana disaster management software, created by Sri Lankan programmer Chamindra de Silva. Sahana can be used to establish missing person registries, coordinate relief efforts among groups, request support, and keep track of victims in shelters. The combination of Google Earth with Sahana will create a detailed visual image of a disaster area. Google plans to work with Microsoft to ensure that the modified Sahana works with Microsoft’s Virtual Earth service.

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