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Indians Use Google Earth and GPS To Protect Amazon

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the captain-eplanet dept.

172

Damien1972 writes "Deep in the most remote jungles of South America, Amazon Indians are using Google Earth, GPS, and other technologies to protect their fast-dwindling home. Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology to conserve forests and maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions. Indians use Google Earth to remotely monitor their lands by checking for signs of miners and GPS to map their lands. "Google Earth is used primarily for vigilance," says Vasco van Roosmalen, program director of a nonprofit involved in the project."

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172 comments

Best way to ensure conservation (3, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16861972)

The combination of technology and private property looks like the best way to ensure conservation. Make sure the land in question belongs to somebody, so they have an incentive to take care of it; and give them the tech tools to do so. They will do it without taxing others. No EPA budget busting, no snail darter lawsuits, no taking of private property. About the only taxpayer expenses are the maintenance of the cops and judicial system to handle civil or criminal complaints that the tribe may have - and that is mostly a sunk cost anyway.

Sorry to risk starting a political debate ( but after all this is slashdot, so that is effectively a sunk cost too. )

Best Way: Firepower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862216)

The reality of business is that it thrives on profit. If you spot hunters violating conservation laws in the Amazon, a little warning here and there will do nothing.

Dian Fossey [wikipedia.org], famed protector of the gorillas, tried issuing warnings to poachers. The warnings did not stop the poaching but did encourage the poachers to successfully kill her.

If you identify the location of illegal hunters by using Google Earth, I suggest that you keep the matter to yourself. Hook up with some CIA-funded guerillas still operating in the region. Do some favors for the guerillas. In turn, they will help you to permanently solve the problem of illegal hunting. A hunter with his puny rifle is no match for a CIA-backed guerilla armed with the latest shoulder-fired missile.

Re:Best Way: Firepower (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862336)

so right, I mean, look how awesome a job those shoulder fired missiles are doing in Iraq!

Re:Best Way: Firepower (1)

The Anarchist Avenge (1004563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862666)

...or in Somalia?

I am aware that they were using RPGs in Somalia, not missiles, but they all operate on the same general principle, and RPG's are dumber than missles.
Also,
if(poacher != largestmilitaryinworld){you.stupid==true;}

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862314)

It does belong to someone, the Indians and animals.

Duh.

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (5, Interesting)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862404)

The combination of technology and private property looks like the best way to ensure conservation. Make sure the land in question belongs to somebody, so they have an incentive to take care of it


The Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org] defeats this argument. If I'm the private owner, why should I spend my money to preserve it when I could make money be selling the land to a clear-cutter? Yes, there's less rain-forest now, but that cost is paid by society, not by me. I personally get net ahead by abusing my piece of the commons.

Individuals do what is best for themselves individually. Collectives can do what is best for the collective. The only way to protect a commons is through government, because it represents the collective of the people.

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862926)

The Tragedy of the Commons defeats this argument. If I'm the private owner, why should I spend my money to preserve it when I could make money be selling the land to a clear-cutter?

1) Because, as the owner of the land with a vested interest in the land, it is more valuable to you forested (an ongoing resource) than clear-cut (a one-time use). Sure there will be plenty of times when the owner decideds that partial clear-cutting is his ownly choice due to short-term economic problems. But, private ownership is meant to be the least wasteful model, not a utopian (in the classic sense) model.

This article is de facto proof that private ownership of the forest by those with a vested interest in the forest (the native indians) will work.

2) You are trying to use the tragedy of the commons to try to justify the commons (communal ownership of the forest) as the best economic model. Very ironic.

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863022)

You are trying to use the tragedy of the commons to try to justify the commons (communal ownership of the forest) as the best economic model. Very ironic.

Thats not really what he/she was doing. Communal ownership in the classical sense would mean that the private corporations doing the clearcutting would share the forest with the Indians, just as the village commons in the old economic parable was owned by everybody.

The "communalism" being proposed is sole communal ownership by the people living on the land (i.e. the Indians), with the exploiting corporations left out. Think of it as private ownership by a collective, if that makes any sense.

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862950)

Individuals do what is best for themselves individually. Collectives can do what is best for the collective.

1. A "collective" can't do anything, because a collective is, in reality, nothing but a group of unique individuals spoken for by some arbitrary leader. A collective is not a living, thinking being in itself; it does not "think" for itself. Unless each and every one of the unique, thinking individuals belonging to the collective decides for himself to offer voluntary support to the issue in question, then how can one logically claim that the collective has spoken? On the contrary, only a specific subset of the collective has spoken -- a "majority" for example -- and they have of course spoken only for themselves, not the collective in total, because individuals cannot think for anyone but themselves.

2. If individuals do what's best for themselves, as you claim, and collectives are nothing but groups of unique individuals spoken for by some arbitrary leader, as I have shown, then it follows that collectives do what's best for the leader of the collective (which you can define as the majority on a given issue), not the collective as a whole.

So collective rule doesn't serve the collective at all, but only a specific subset of the collective on any given issue, provided that individuals are unique and capable of unique thought processing, which of course they are. The question, then, should not be simply "what does the majority say", but "how strong is the majority", in other words how close to a 100% majority should the "collective" (government) need in order to impose coercion as their means.

I say 99.99999% - what do you think?

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (1)

greginnj (891863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863170)

in other words how close to a 100% majority should the "collective" (government) need in order to impose coercion as their means.

I say 99.99999% - what do you think?
I think I'd like to know the size of the population you're taking a percentage of, so I know how many members I need in my soon-to-be-formed criminal conspiracy, to guarantee its safety. Thanks!



Heywaitaminnit .... impose coercion ? As opposed to getting people to submit to it voluntarily?

You misread the Tragedy of the Commons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862972)

The prior poster asserted that keeping the land in private, empowered hands is good for conservation. You then say that 'The Tragedy of the Commons' (which applies to communally owned resources, not privately held ones) somehow 'defeats that argument'.

If I'm the private owner, why should I spend my money to preserve it when I could make money be selling the land to a clear-cutter? Yes, there's less rain-forest now, but that cost is paid by society, not by me. I personally get net ahead by abusing my piece of the commons.
Help me out here. Are you saying that property owners have no interest in preserving their land because they can sell it to someone else for some cash, knowing full well it'll be exploited?
I think you've got it backwards. Property owners have an interest in preserving the value of their assets. No such interest applies to communal resources; hence their fate.

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16863028)

If I'm the private owner, why should I spend my money to preserve it when I could make money be selling the land to a clear-cutter?

Because your a nice ecologically conscious person? My problem with collectives is that they are inevitably controlled by just a few individuals, or even just one anyway. That makes the whole idea of a collective moot.

In the United States, we have these things called homeowners' associations. They are essentially collectives that you are required to join if you want to live in certain neighborhoods/housing developments. Initially they are formed to establish rules for the common good. Rules are established that cater to the health and safety of the members. However, those elected to lead often end up as dictators, and bully the collective members into adopting any number of stupid rules. In the area that I live in these associations have rules covering things like: approved house paint colors, approved architecture and house plans, approved landscaping, the amount of time (in minutes) you are allowed to have your garage door open, the number of cars you can have parked in front of your house (having a party or not), the pets you are allowed to own (down to specific breeds of species), how long before and after garbage pickup your can is allowed to be on the street (your work schedule be damned), etc...

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863194)

...and you'll catch me dead before you find me living in an HOA neighborhood. Really, that's one of those things you know going into the deal. Although I oppose them, I can't really feel sorry for the people who bought into restricting their own freedom.

(You can't get forced into an HOA unless you buy in, can you?)

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863100)

Except that all over the world, private conservation funds are buying up huge tracts of land for the simple purpose of preserving it.

Government parks are nice, but don't get all rosy-eyed, much of the time they are on land that isn't good for much else, and in the U.S. anyway, plenty of resource extraction goes on(which is fine, 50-100 year old plantation trees are not real precious).

Tragedy of the Commons (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863172)

Governments are the collective will of the people? What the hell have you been smoking?

Dictatorships are the collective will of one person. But they're still a government.
Oligopolies, either through social or economic classism are the collective will of those in power. But they're still a government.
Democracies are the collective will of the majority (see tyranny of the majority). If you're in the minority, your will isn't represented. Tough luck.

And, even if the government is the collective will of the people in one area, unless you have world government, they can still take actions that benefit them at the cost of everyone else.

And finally, you gave the example of the Tragedy of the Commons for why private ownership fails to preserve land better than public ownership. I'm sorry, but I don't think you understand what the Tragedy of the Commons is supposed to illustrate at all.

From the link you provided to wikipedia:

"The paradigm example is the use by individuals of communally owned land for the grazing of animals owned privately by those individuals."

What you said:

"I personally get net ahead by abusing my piece of the commons."

If it's your piece, then it's no longer common, is it? Unless you subscribe to communism, in which case it was never your piece to begin with.

Going back to the original argument, the idea behind private ownership of land is that any party can own the land, and use it however they wish. If they want to stripmine it, that's within the boundaries of ownership. However, nothing stops organizations whose sole purpose is to conserve land (ie, Sierra Club and the like) from purchasing the land, and keeping it in its original state (or restoring it, if it's been altered.)

Contrast this to governmental control, where if enough wealthy (and suitably short-sighted) land developers gain influence over government, they can do things like allow logging, mining, oil extraction, as well as pipeline and road construction, since it's "public land".

As far as Tragedy of the Commons, If you're going to advocate communism/socialism/collectivism, you're going to want to use an argument that doesn't exist to shoot down the concept of collective ownership...

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (2, Informative)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863350)

No, the tragedy of the commons applies when there is no property, and everything is part of the commons. Hence the name, tragedy of the commons. For instance, one could argue that with regard to the atmosphere. We cannot divide the atmosphere up into private lots, and there is no incentive to keep any of it clean.

Re:Best way to ensure conservation (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862596)

I mostly agree, but many indigenous communities don't recognize land rights with a Western mentality; communal lands with no private ownership, for example. This is not due to a lack of understanding of private lands, which is why they lobby their government for land rights, but a cultural choice.

It can still work, just not as simply.

Too bad they can only stop what happened years ago (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16861974)

Those maps are out of date, it'll be useless to find new operations.

Re:Too bad they can only stop what happened years (2, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862338)

This is not a troll! Whoever modded this should be meta-moderated out of existence!

I was going to say the same thing. When I pull up my house on Google Earth, it shows an empty lot where my house has been for at least three years. Yeah, these Indians may find a mine, but by the time they get there, all the miners would have left and the forest would have retaken the land.

I mean, it's not like you can go outside, wave at the sky and find yourself on GoogleEarth!

Re:Too bad they can only stop what happened years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16863612)

"When I pull up my house on Google Earth, it shows an empty lot where my house has been for at least three years."

Well, I'm not quite sure how to tell you this, but it's because they actively ignore idiots.

Re:Too bad they can only stop what happened years (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862530)

I covered the roof of my garage with a white latex-type material a few years ago, and Google Earth still shows my old black garage, with a silver Honda next to it that I traded in a long time ago.

How can this tool "keep track" of anything in terms of the encroachment of miners (for example)?

I remember when Google Earth first came out, I kept insisting that my wife run out in the back yard and wave to me. Although she's a very smart mathematician, it's pretty easy to pull her leg, so she indeed went outside. She figured it out after a few minutes and smacked me, but not until my daughter and I were rolling in laughter.

Re:Too bad they can only stop what happened years (2, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863274)

They have satellites up there which are dedicated to monitoring the amazon, as well as radar stations on the ground. So they're using google earth for mapping, not for imaging, I would infer. I know that they have active satellites in orbit currently because my father worked on the project [thinkquest.org] that put them there. I'm rather puzzled though by this story which does not mention either the company my father works for nor the name of the project.

Re:Too bad they can only stop what happened years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16863842)

Satellites ... radar ... all the need now is a few of these [slashdot.org] and they'll be set!

Re:Too bad they can only stop what happened years (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863900)

Mining is something that takes time. You don't just move in overnight, mine, and leave in the morning. I guess they're monitoring a vast expanse of land, so even a months old picture is useful.

Native Americans use Google Earth (4, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16861990)

I don't think they outsourced it to India.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (1)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862402)

Amazon probably outsources a lot of its call-center related jobs to India...so I'm not surprised the Indians are doing whatever they can to protect Amazon in order to keep as many jobs as possible.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (1, Funny)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862406)

yeah, native americans in BRAZIL.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (4, Informative)

redfieldp (549286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862488)

Um, yes, that would be Brazil in South AMERICA. Hence, Native AMERICANS.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (4, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862610)

you'll have to excuse some posters. They seem to think America only means the USA, when it refers to two continents.

Just like India is a subcontinent just south of Asia.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (1)

metalligoth (672285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862652)

The term American originally referred to the first nation in North or South America that was non-aboriginal. That nation of course is formed by the United States of America. Hence why people in Canada, for example, aren't called "Americans".

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863074)

The term American originally referred to the first nation in North or South America that was non-aboriginal. That nation of course is formed by the United States of America.

What a load of Bullshit. Next time, could you do you an iota of research before posting your facts?

The continents were named after Amerigo Vespucci [about.com] who first landed at the mouth of the Amazon in 1499 and was the first explorer to realize that he was not in India but rather a new place.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863164)

"The continents were named after Amerigo Vespucci who first landed at the mouth of the Amazon in 1499 and was the first explorer to realize that he was not in India but rather a new place"

right and how is that related to the term american? Your post has nothing to do with what the parent wrote. For example i can reply.

Sir Franceis Drake was a Brit! sure it is true but it has nothing to do with your post.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863676)

You respond to a post in which I castigate someone for not doing an iota of research with a similar post completely void of research. Ironic.

Read the the link [about.com] dumbass.

In honor of Vespucci's discovery of the new forth portion of the world, Waldseemuller printed a wood block map (called "Carta Mariana") with the name "America" spread across the southern continent of the New World.

Re:Native Americans use Google Earth (0, Flamebait)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863780)

funny, the link you provided has lots of information on the naming of America which i already said was true. It has nothing to do with the application of the label AMERICAN. Once again, Sir Francis drake was a Brit. Here is a link to prove it wikipedia link [wikipedia.org]. Lots of great information. Just as true as your post, but says nothing about why americans are called americans and canadians, mexicans, brazillians etc are not called americans. Do you even understand the topic? We are not discussing who the Americas are named after, you are the one who brought that up.

If you just learned about Vespucci in school and just felt like sharing this with us, sorry for the harsh reply, but we already know this.

!offtopic (3, Informative)

winomonkey (983062) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862902)

Hey mods...the above post is not off topic, it is merely pointing out that articles, blurbs, and summaries should make the distinction that Indians (ala India) are not the same as Native Americans. Hundreds of years after the initial confusion and we are still getting this stuff wrong. Indians are not native to the Amazon.

Perhaps you meant some of these indigeneous peoples from Brazil:
        * Ache
        * Aconã
        * Aimoré (Botocudo)
        * Anacé
        * Apinajé
        * Aranã
        * Asheninka
        * Atikum-Umã
        * Awá
        * Baniwa
        * Caingang (Kaingang)
        * Caripuna
        * Caxixó
        * Fulni-o
        * Guajajara
        * Guaraní
        * Jeripankó
        * Juká
        * Kaimbé
        * Kalabaça-Jandaíra
        * Kalankó
        * Kamayurá (Kamaiurá)
        * Kambiwá
        * Kanindé
        * Kantaruré
        * Kapinawá
        * Karajá
        * Karapotó
        * Kariri-Xokó
        * Karuazu
        * Kiriri
        * Katuquina (Catökinn)
        * Kaxinawa
        * Kayapo
        * Korubo
        * Koiupanká
        * Krahó
        * Krenak
        * Macuxi
        * Matipu
        * Maxakali
        * Munduruku
        * Ofayé
        * Panará
        * Pankaiuká
        * Pankará
        * Pankararé
        * Pankararu
        * Pankaru
        * Pataxó
        * Pataxó-Hã-Hã-Hãe
        * Payaku
        * Pipipã de Kambixuru
        * Pirahã
        * Pitaguary
        * Potiguara
        * Quilombolo
        * Tapirape
        * Tapeba
        * Tapuia
        * Tamoio
        * Terena
        * Ticuna
        * Tremembé
        * Truká
        * Tsohom Djapa
        * Tumbalalá
        * Tupinambá
        * Tupiniquim (Tupinikim)
        * Waiapi
        * Waorani
        * Wassu-Cocal
        * Xacriaba
        * Xavante
        * Xerente
        * Xokó
        * Xucuru
        * Yanomami
        * Yawalapiti
        * Yawanawa
        * Zuruaha

Thank you, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] for your help in making this point even more clear - many groups live in the Amazon, and their relation to Indians is very much a distant one.

Re:!offtopic (1)

ericlondaits (32714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863146)

Yes, it struck me as well... why are indians concerned about the amazon? or is it the on-line bookstore they're trying to protect?

Campers, I tell you! (1)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862002)

Campers, all of them! They maphack and wait for our attacks, and they try to defend! I tell you, they camp and maphack and everything! That's not fair, the Amazonians defending their base!

Heh.. For a second (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862010)

I was puzzled as to why a bunch of people in South Asia wanted to protect something in South America. :)

Re:Heh.. For a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862082)

I was puzzled as to why they wanted to protect Amazon.com.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862014)

... they're using the 'net to find old National Geographic issues with photos of boobs.

oh (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862022)

Ohhhh! /American/ Indians!

Re:oh (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862158)

> Ohhhh! /American/ Indians!

You mean, like amazon.br?

Re:oh (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862434)

You do know that the US is not America, right?

you do know... (4, Informative)

Oo.et.oO (6530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862658)

that indians are FROM INDIA, right?

is this supposed to be like a queer calling a queer a queer?

Re:you do know... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863138)

Reminds me of a guy whas from Sierra Leone was called an African-American because of his colour, just as the guy who had three grand parents that came from Scandinavia.

Re:oh (1)

script_daddy (846338) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862774)

Take your cheese-eating, liberal lies elsewhere!

We know you dirty liberals hate America, but we also know that you love the rain-forest, Che Guevara, latino prostitues, and Mexican marijuana. You even seem to like the Canadians fer chrissakes! Ergo, America = The US. It's simple logic!

Amazonian rainforests (1)

56ker (566853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862114)

It is in everyone's best interests that we don't destroy more of the tropical rainforests to make way for short-term profits such as gold. The innovative use of technology with tribes seen to be primitive is a good example of how technology can be used as a useful tool.

However the article doesn't mention why these illegal logging/mining operations are going on (other than the profit motive). Perhaps the Brazilian government (as well as other South American governments) could put money into deterring these types of operations as well as dealing with them once they have sprung up. It is in humanity's best interest to deal with issues such as these now which affect quality of life and climate change. If we just do nothing and continue on our current path it will eventually lead to the biosphere being hostile to human life and possibly the extinction of humankind as a species.

Re:Amazonian rainforests (3, Insightful)

gustgr (695173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862304)

While mining is a huge problem in South America's tropical forests, there is also the deforestation problem, both for the value of the wood itself and for cleaning the soil in order to expand the agriculture. The Brazilian government, as I can see it as a Brazilian myself, isn't doing nothing at all to prevent this. In fact, one of the biggest producers of soy in Brazil is also governor of Mato Grosso (a state in which there is a reasonable part of the Amazon forest). His farms are located both in Mato Grosso and in Amazonas (the state where the Amazon forest has its greatest coverage). There are a lot of farmers like him, they take down the trees, sell the woods and then plant soy on the cleaned area.

Brazilian government is actually proud to be in the head at a time when Brazil is exporting soy (and others commodities) as hell. Brazil is not the only guilt though. The buyers (mainly from Europe) should reject soy that was planted on former forest's territory, cattle (meat) created on former forest's territory, etc.

Phew... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862166)

Am I the only one who thought that Amazon.com was being ravaged from the title of the story and that the Indians (from India) had found some amazing way to save them? :)

old data? (2, Insightful)

collinong (529255) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862214)

since google map and earth data is not at all real time, wouldn't it be hard for them to use these tools to find new encroachments? a forest or jungle could be cut down in the year or two it takes for google to get new sat images up.

Re:old data? (1)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862306)

Yeah. That was my first thought, too. I'm in Southern California, and the frame with my house in it is over two years old. I kind of like that as far as my street is concerned (reminds me of what was there before a bunch of new construction), but it does make Google Earth a blunt tool for tracking clearcutting. Unless they update the Amazon much more often?

Re:old data? (1)

sasdrtx (914842) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862814)

Hahahahahahahahaha... they'll be surprised when they see our new clear-cut start, and then drive out there and find nothin' but dirt for 10,000 miles!

oblig. South Park reference (3, Funny)

alexhard (778254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862250)

There's a place called the rainforest; it truly sucks ass. Let's knock it all down and get rid of it fast. You say, "Save the rainforest," but what do you know? You've never been to the rainforest before.

Images were updated by request (5, Informative)

xPsi (851544) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862260)

Initially, I thought that their exercise was futile because Google Earth doesn't not have real time images and it is impossible (at a glance, although sometimes you can tell with some detective work) to know when various pictures were taken (e.g. see the Google Earth FAQ [google.com]). But, it turns out that the group working in the Amazon actively makes requests to Google to update certain images faster so they can legitimately monitor various regions. e.g. from TFA:
""When Google Earth updated these images earlier this year with higher resolution versions, we could find nearly all the disturbances in the forest....We offered the Google Earth team a list of coordinates where it would be helpful to have sharper images. We also discussed the possibility of finding ways to include the Indians' nonproprietary data, as a layer with Indian names, on Google Earth."

Re:Images were updated by request (1)

Mark_in_Brazil (537925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863912)

The weird thing is that as a result, there are super-up-to-date pix of remote parts of the rainforest in Google Earth, but some more densely populated regions have old pictures.
For example, I live in São Paulo, easily the largest and most important city in Latin America and in the Southern Hemisphere. For people who know US cities, here are some references: try and imagine a city that occupies a significantly larger area than Los Angeles, but has a density of buildings like Manhattan. It's just ridiculous. When you come in for a landing at the domestic airport in the south side of the city on a clear day, it looks like the buildings just go on forever.
Anyway, here I am in this metropolis, and yet the satellite photos of my neighborhood appear to be from about August of 1991, based on the state of the construction of two major condos in the neighborhood at the time the pictures were taken. Meanwhile, the pictures of remote parts of the rainforest are updated often enough that it can be used as a monitoring tool.

Data age a problem. (0, Redundant)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862270)

I doubt scanning GE provides much more than warm fuzzy feeling to the scanners - as the data is routinely anwhere from 1-5 years (or more) out of date. The article itself is little more than a fuzzy headed puff piece.

Satellite Recon (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862280)

That's the great thing about Google Earth - it's a poor man's satellite recon.

If I were fighting some brush war on a shoestring budget, you can bet I'd be using Google Earth to figure out where my opponent's weaknesses are. Old intelligence is way better than no intelligence.

Re:Satellite Recon (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862412)

Old intelligence is way better than no intelligence.

Bollocks. Ask Rumsfeld about the fine distinctions of military intelligence - he's got time on his hands now. 'No Intelligence' puts you in the position of an Known Unknown, which you can account for and you can be careful about. 'Old Intelligence' is an Unknown Unknown. You don't know where the opponent's weaknesses are but you THINK YOU DO. That's lethal. Especially when your opponent might know you're using Google Earth, and can then look at the same maps you're using, say 'Ah - he'll think we're weak HERE', and set up a nice trap for you...

One Problem? (0, Redundant)

UltraAyla (828879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862286)

From TFA:

With the newly updated, high-resolution images of the region, they can see river discoloration which could be the product of sedimentation and pollution from a nearby mine. They are able to use these images to find the smallest gold mine."

One thing I don't get is how Google Earth has the resolution or frequency of updates that you'd need to monitor anything.

I live in a major urban area in California, and while the resolution is easily up to snuff for IDing swimming pools, cars, and the occasional frisbee, the image data is easily over 3 years old (denoted by the fact that my neighbor still has his doughboy swimming pool in their pictures, which I personally helped him uninstall long ago). In addition, once you leave the urban areas on this map, the resolution goes to crap.

This seems odd to me, so my question is: does Google, for some odd reason update images of the Amazon more often than they update major metropolitan areas (or at least mine)? Is the resolution of their land good enough? If so, can somebody explain to me what sort of incentive they have for this sort of thing?

I wonder (0, Offtopic)

chord.wav (599850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862330)

What are indians doing in the Amazon jungle? Don't they have their own problems in India? You know, their home country?

Could the title be more ambiguous? (4, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862372)

I mean, I got the mental image of a bunch of guys in Bombay using Google Earth to protect an online bookstore...

Re:Could the title be more ambiguous? (4, Funny)

natrius (642724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862718)

After 500 years, we still have to deal with namespace collisions caused by Columbus covering his ass.

Aw crap, we're lost. What do I tell the crew...
"Congratulations, everyone! We've made it to India!"

BioRape. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862532)

"The Indians also chart the distribution of medicinal plants -- they use hundreds -- but for security reasons, some highly coveted medicinal plants are not published. In the past there have been problems with biopiracy where outsiders trespass on lands to illegally collect these plants for export. The Indians saw nothing in return. "

Something to keep in mind in the ongoing debate about drugs and the third-world.

Who in the feck writes this titles? (1, Flamebait)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862670)

Indians live in that subcontinent over near the Asia. Various Native and Indengious people live in South America.

And you wonder why Americans are called fat lazy and stupid.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862878)

...and Americans live in North AND South America.

But I was able to figure out what you meant; and you were able to figure out what the title meant.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863046)

One problem is that I actually thought Indian referred to the country at first in this headline - it is confusing. "Amazon natives" is almost as easy to say, and much clearer.

I don't have any PC reasons against the usage of "Indian" to refer to natives, but I do think it is antiquated and only creates confusion. Language should be clear and unambiguous when possible

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862884)


Indians live in that subcontinent over near the Asia. Various Native and Indengious people live in South America.


And everyone knows Amazon is located in Seattle, though they do have Customer Service centers in
North Dakota, West Virginia, and India.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

Smurf (7981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863004)

Although you are right, it so happens that in English (and in practically all European languages for that matter), Indian also refers to American Natives (American as in from any of the Americas). Yes, it's due to a mistake made over 500 years ago, but it's officially in the language, look it up in a dictionary.

Here you have one:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/indian [reference.com]

We may not like the misuse of terms like Indian and American, but unfortunately we will have to live with them.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863034)

As a US citizen living overseas, I had similar confusion when reading the title.

Nonetheless, the term "indians" is commonly used to refer to indigenous Americans in the US. Whether it's technically right or wrong has no bearing on the word's connotation. Fries do not at all resemble any form of something that has been chipped, yet the English still call them chips. It's not wrong, it just different.

Get over it.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863484)

I'm sorry, but that's utter BS. Have to be blunt here, but the fact that you seem to be unable to differentiate between different dialectal usage for a certain food-item, and an incorrect term for a people only shows your cultural insensitivity. This isn't about discussing the different synonyms for a certain word in the lexicon, it is about calling someone by the name they identify with for historical and cultural reasons.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16863604)

No we don't.

A chip is made from a potato that has been chipped and fried. They tend to be fatter than fries, have a different texture, and curved ends from the curvature of the ends of the original potato. Sometimes they even have potato skin left on some edges!

A fry is made from mashed potato that has been reformed and fried. They tend to be thinner and softer than chips, and mostly served in fast-food joints.

The problem isn't that we use a different word for the same thing, it's that we make a distinction between two foods where you don't.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16863110)

Indian [answers.com]

adj.

      1. Of or relating to India or the East Indies or to their peoples, languages, or cultures.
      2. Of or relating to any of the Native American peoples except the Eskimos, Aleuts, and Inuits.

n.

      1. A native or inhabitant of India or of the East Indies.
      2.
                  1. A member of any of the Native American peoples except the Eskimos, Aleuts, and Inuits.
                  2. Any of the languages of these peoples.
      3. See Indus2.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863232)

Indians live in that subcontinent over near the Asia. Various Native and Indengious people live in South America.

And you wonder why Americans are called fat lazy and stupid.
Yes, let's answer cultural insensitivity with more and worse cultural insensitivity. Surely that will solve the problem. And, no, I don't really care if you do live in the United States (America refers to two continents) that doesn't give you the right to call the whole populace anything.

Re:Who in the feck writes this titles? (1)

Vreejack (68778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863796)

The title had me confused as well. The use if the term "Indian" to describe the aboriginal peoples of the Americas is a practice that should have died out 400 years ago with Columbus. It managed to persist for so long because it was rarely confusing, but given that India is the most populous democracy in the world and has a dynamic, growing economy then I am beginning to consider recommending corporal punishment for repeat "India" offenders. I don't think there are even any aboriginal Americans who like being called "Indians," so it is insensitive as well as ignorant.

Old images (0, Redundant)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862712)

The Google Earth images of my town (population ~10,000 in Virginia, USA) are old - at least 5 years old. Not to mention really crappy low-res (I resort to terraserver's USGS black and white images for our area, because at least they are detailed).

So unless they only need to sample say twice a decade, I don't see how this could be useful for tracking really new encroachments.

Dan East

any one else read this as (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16862754)

Indians (as in H1-B) use Google Earth and GPS to Protect Amazon (as in .com)?

Legacy of an ignorant columbus (0, Troll)

cgskumar77 (848288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862836)

500 years ago, Columbus was ignorant enough to call [the real] Americans as Indians. Even during the current knowledge era, [the phony] Americans don't want to correct that mistake. They don't want to become 'the immigrants', right?

Re:Legacy of an ignorant columbus (1)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863248)

ignorant enough

You fail to realise that 500 years ago, the entire world was ignorant enough to not even be aware of the contintent they now call "America" standing in between Europe and Asia on the other side of the globe. The people weren't even called Americans at the time, either. That name came from Europe as well.

As a side, and mostly stupid comment, how else did you think that India had so many people in its country? Easy, they're located all around the globe! Har har har.... (that laugh should be read in monotone.)

Re:Legacy of an ignorant columbus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16863788)

They don't want to become 'the immigrants', right?

How long exactly does it take before a person loses the status 'immigrant?' I ask since we could effectively call *everyone* immigrants except for those living in Mesopotamia or Africa depending on when you choose to define the epoch of Man.

How long until those born in America are Americans?

First thing I thought (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862960)

when I read the title of this article was: how would GPS help Amazon.com? I spend too much time on the internet...

Google Earth isn't real-time (0, Redundant)

KeelSpawn (575726) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862962)

Google Earth wouldn't be of ANY help to what they're seeking for. The Google Earth map databases are updated every six months, so they could find the forest full and thriving one day and 6 months later check again - they might just find it a thriving new city. WHERE'S THE JUNGLE??? Too bad, we never said Google Earth is real-time. They're merely outdated images taken by satellites twice per year.

Indians? Do you mean Aboriginals? (-1, Troll)

yebb (142883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16862988)

Not only is it ignorant to call native populations of any country "Indians" unless they are from India, it is also confusing and inaccurate. I spent about 10 seconds figuring out why people from India were saving the Amazon in South America with google maps. This isn't about political correctness, it's about correctness.

"Cowboys and Indians" are not of this century.

Re:Indians? Do you mean Aboriginals? (1)

lowid (24) _________ (878977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863994)

I spent about 10 seconds figuring out why people from India were saving the Amazon in South America with google maps.

And those are 10 seconds that you can never have back. Damn story titlers.

I think the writer is lost.... (0, Redundant)

shakeedoo (913579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863200)

"Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology" Wait a minute.... where is South America now? The Far East? Last I checked Sutiname, Brazil, and Colombia are all in the Western Hemisphere, and if technology is divided only by hemisphere, Google maps and other Western technologies represent their technology. Just because you call them Indians, that doesn't mean that they aren't in the Western Hemisphere.

Western technology? (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 7 years ago | (#16863288)

"Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology..."

Since they're in the Americas, does that mean they're using GPS units made in Asia?

Edible IT (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16864004)

If we could make solar collection (for DC) and WiFi APs biodegradable, tribes might have even better security. Maybe their ancestors left the seeds for them growing somewhere in that cornucopia...
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