Dutch treat

The Dutch are no slackers when it comes to using Google Earth in the classroom. Via this page I found several links to how-to articles in Dutch on using Google Earth as an educational tool. One site in particular might appeal to English speakers: Earthquest.nl contains “assignments” for the classroom akin to treasure hunts, one of which has been translated into English (click on “Earthquests” on the left). Educators might want to check it out to get some ideas.

Another Dutch page of note is google-earth.pagina.nl, which contains heaps of links to Google Earth-related sites. Most of the links are to English-language sites, and also to some sightseeings sites I was not previously aware of, such as Aliensview (in English) and earth.web-log.nl (in Dutch).

Also of interest is the official answer by the Dutch government to the parliamentary question that was asked by 2 lawmakers regarding the ostensible security risks Google Earth might pose. For the record, then, because some articles on the internet are making it sound like it is the Dutch government’s position that Google Earth is a security risk (which is not its position), the government’s response is as follows, in part (translating now):

The images shown by Google Earth and Maps are already publicly available. The internet is a low-threshhold medium for accessing publicly available information. Currently there is no reason to start an investigation into the security risks of these applications.

Just as in the Netherlands, the US does not have a concrete policy regarding such applications on the internet. We asked the Australian government regarding Google Earth and the implications it saw for the privacy of its citizens. In its response the Australian government said that satellite imagery and aerial photography have been publicly available for a long time via companies both in Australia and abroad.

Liberal democracies are a wonderful thing.