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Google Blurring Sensitive Map Information

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the blurring-the-nukes dept.

Google 411

Cyphoid writes "While viewing my school (the University of Massachusetts Lowell) with Google Maps, I noticed that a select portion of the campus was pixelated: the operational nuclear research facility on campus. Curious, I attempted to view the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It too was pixelated. What or who is compelling Google to smudge out these images selectively? Will all satellite images of facilities that the government deems 'sensitive' soon be subject to censoring?" Not surprisingly, the same areas are blurred in Google Earth. But how about images from satellites operated by other nations, such as SPOT or Sovinformsputnik?

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Zeus fucks twofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792160)

Twofo [twofo.co.uk] Is Dying

DC++ [dcpp.net] hub.twofo.co.uk:4144

It is official; Netcraft confirms: Twofo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured University of Warwick [warwick.ac.uk] filesharing community when ITS confirmed that Twofo total share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all file sharing. Coming hot on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Twofo has lost more share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Student comprehensive leeching test.

You don't need to be one of the Hub Operators to predict Twofo's future. The hand writing is on the toilet wall: Twofo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo because Twofo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo. As many of us are already aware, Twofo continues to lose users. Fines and disconnections flow like a river of feces [tubgirl.com] .

N00b Campus users are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their total share. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Twofo sharers fool_on_the_hill and Twinklefeet only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Sources indicate that there are at most 150 users in the hub. How many filelists have been downloaded? Let's see. 719. But 1621 IP addresses have been logged, and 1727 nicks have been sighted connecting to one user over the last term. How many searches are there? 600 searches in 3 hours. The highest sharer on campus, known as "firstchoice", or Andrew.Maddison@warwick.ac.uk in real life, was sharing over 1 TiB, despite working in ITS [warwick.ac.uk] and not being on the resnet. He's only there so people off campus who think they're too good for bittorrent can continue to abuse the University's internet connection.

Due to troubles at the University of Warwick, lack of internet bandwidth, enforcements of Acceptable Usage Policies, abysmal sharing, retarded leechers, clueless n00bs, and ITS fining and disconnecting users, Twofo has no future. All major student surveys show that Twofo has steadily declined in file share. Twofo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo is to survive at all it will be among p2p hardcore fuckwits, desperate to grab stuff for free off the internet. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo is dead.

Fact: Twofo is dying

Re:Zeus fucks twofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792308)

For the love of sweet zomebie Jesus, no one gives a FUCK about twofo!! Stop Spamming!!

MassGIS (5, Informative)

pHZero (790342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792168)

Google Maps gets the Massachusetts aerial photos from MassGIS http://www.mass.gov/mgis [mass.gov]

I believe you will find they are the blurring culprits if you download the latest aerial photos done by a 2005 fly by.

Re:MassGIS (5, Informative)

markb (6556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792362)

You're right. I don't think Google is the one censoring the photos. For a counter example, check out the photos of the White House on Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth (http://local.live.com). Google's images (from a private source) do not appear to be censored, but Microsoft's (from the USGS, I believe) are heavily edited.

Re:MassGIS (1)

pHZero (790342) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792386)

Yeah the only reason I know this is because I work with MassGIS' ortho photos as well as some of their other data sets on a daily basis @ work.

Re:MassGIS (2, Informative)

avdp (22065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792494)

Not too long ago, it used to be that the White House and Capitol (and others) were blurred on Google too. I remember getting a kick out of search for those "special sites" on Google and see if they missed any. I guess they've switched their source of data for Washington, DC....

Re:MassGIS (0, Redundant)

Samah (729132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792564)

Move along, nothing to see here.

Re:MassGIS (3, Informative)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792614)

Google surely [telegraph.co.uk] wouldn't censor it's maps on request by an interested party.

Re:MassGIS (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792646)

I agree. Since Google gets the images from various data sources, the quality of the data will differ. Some vendors obscure the images of sensitive sites, others do not.

Not sure who provides the data for other areas, but I have used Google Maps and Google Earth to locate several 'sensitive' structures, such as Diablo Nuclear Power Plant [google.com] in California, Vandenberg Air Force Base, etc.

For me, it's a cool feature since I grew up in the area, visited the Nuclear Power Plant while in elementary school, got special tours of Vandenberg while in Boy Scouts, etc.

There is no point in obscuring the overhead images of the plant--- PG&E provide aerial images to public groups, school children, etc. Usually the images are marked in a way to clearly label the water evaporation towers, and reassure the public that the steam venting form the tanks is water vapor-- not some strange nuclear contaminated gas.

good idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792172)

next they should blur large signs on top of buildings temporarily erected to spam google map...

A few other pixelated / blurred spots (1)

putigger (632291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792174)

MIT Lincoln Labs (244 Wood St, Lexington, MA) GE Global Research Center (1 Research Circle, Niskayuna, NY) Knolls Atomic Power Lab (next door to GE, formerly operated by GE)

Re:A few other pixelated / blurred spots (1)

CommanderData (782739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792352)

I figured that MIT Bates Lab [google.com] would be blurred out too, but it is not. I guess particle accelerators are not as high on the security list.

Great (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792196)

Now it's even easier to pick out nice fat targets.
 

Re:Great (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792238)

Exactly.

Now terrorists will find it a lot easier (and be sure about it!) where to "fly" their aircrafts. I think placing these pixels over sensitive targets is security-wise counterproductive or outright dangerous!!

Re:Great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792550)

Oh my god, terrorists on the plane! We're all going to die!

Oh my god, terror alert level Red!

Oh my god oh my god of my god!!!!11!!11!!!one!!!

I mean seriously, come on. Do you really believe that drivel? It will now be easier for them to fly into other targets?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA hahahahahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHH A.

Ha!

Re:Great (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792610)

The American Left: If it doesn't fit into our political agenda, it doesn't exist.
See also the decaying public school system, frivolous lawsuits, failed war on poverty, et al.

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

Zarel (900479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792260)

What I don't understand is why they do this. They're blurring out the roof of the building. If terrorists want to do something with a building, like bomb it, being able to see a roof and being able to see a blurred roof isn't going to make any difference. If they want to infiltrate the building, the roof shape isn't going to help them much, and you can see the roof shape from the blurred version, anyway. So the blurring doesn't do anything except alert terrorists that there's something that probably should be bombed here.

So can anyone explain why this building is being blurred?

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792376)

With the maximum resolution you can find enough information to plan escape routes, locate access stairs, maintenance hatches, and maybe in the case of a nuclear facility (I only speculate, I am no expert on this) locate the storage facilities of crucial and/or dangerous materials. So yes, it can help. Of course this shouldn't be the only measure taken and the blurring should only be a temporary measure taken to give time to correct any flaw that may become apparent on what used to be military-grade satellite imagery.

Re:Great (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792432)

I wonder if it would be possible to detect the blurring signal computationally. One could write a 'sensitive location' detector that could zip through image archives. Humm...

Re:Great (1)

agw (6387) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792480)

And as soon as they know terrorists are doing this, they will blurr enough random parts of the country side too to get them confused.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

csimicah (592121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792464)

Assuming just for a second that 'the terrorists' have no better way to find the location of nuke plants than by scrolling google maps looking for pixels; what exactly are we worried they're going to do with this information, that they couldn't do without it? Drive to the plant and give it a threatening look? Jump in their bomber fleet and drop daisy cutters?

Slashtards are fucking stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792528)

None of the sites mentioned have been hidden; it's really easy to find them if you're say, using google to search for "nuclear reactor". However, denying free imagery makes it easier to spot people who are surveiling a target. I'll give you a hint. The Unabomber didn't have a leerjet with photography equipment to pick his target. Not blurring it is like leaving the root password on your desk. Yes, you still have a firewall, but let's be a little smarter here.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792600)

> Now it's even easier to pick out nice fat targets

Who gets to pixelate the images and what ensures that they aren't mailing the originals to South American freedom fighters?

I'm sure the person who gets to pixelate the images has a security clearance. That doesn't guarantee anything except that a particular social circle has access to information that the rest of us don't. What they do with that information is, well, best left to the imagination.

I for one know first-hand how easy it is for those with security clearances to abuse their privelege and get away with it.

Re:Great (1)

Joe Decker (3806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792668)

They'll be having a field day with Svalbard, then.

Simcurity (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792204)

Yeah, because the security threats to facilities come from the general public which gets its aerial imagery free from these years-old databases, not from corporate, governement or international orgs with budgets for the plentiful (even cheap) aerial/satellite products with recent updates, higher resolution, GIS overlays, even realtime observations. Or their own aircraft/satellites to generate their own custom data.

These blurred images are just Google caving into various narrow interests with either something negligent to hide from an enquiring public or its reporters [prisonplanet.com] , or just pretending to secure facilities with meaningless handwaving, or both.

Simcurity: when you just don't care to provide real security, and a simulation will do instead.

Re:Simcurity (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792290)

Yeah, cos the unabomber had his own lear jet and imaging equipment. Don't discount the threats from the general public. There's a lot more of them. And some of them are more crazy than the average terrorist.

Re:Simcurity (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792518)

Yeah, cos the Unabomber had Google, right?

Re:Simcurity (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792704)

Except, of course, the unabomber used the postal service, but let's not let that get in the way of your brilliant argument.

Re:Simcurity (3, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792294)

These blurred images are just Google caving into various narrow interests with either something negligent to hide from an enquiring public or its reporters [prisonplanet.com], or just pretending to secure facilities with meaningless handwaving, or both.

Or buying images from a third-party that has already blurred them out, which is very likely the actual case.

Re:Simcurity (4, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792300)

Yeah, because the security threats to facilities come from the general public which gets its aerial imagery free from these years-old databases, not from corporate, governement or international orgs with budgets for the plentiful (even cheap) aerial/satellite products with recent updates, higher resolution, GIS overlays, even realtime observations. Or their own aircraft/satellites to generate their own custom data.

So you're saying we should pay no attention to the simplest and easiest of security measures because a potential adversary could take more agressive action. That's like saying it's okay to have a sticky note with the root password on a critical server as long as you keep the firewall updated.

"Years-old databases"? It's not like the design of a nuclear power plant changes on a day-to-day basis.

Re:Simcurity (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792556)

No, I'm saying those "security measures" are useless, and have other costs. The security tradeoff is totally not worth it.

It's like saying "don't close the barn door after the horse has already escaped. RUN AND CATCH THAT HORSE NOW!"

Re:Simcurity (1)

Gerhardius (446265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792500)

Security threats don't always come from groups with access to large budgets and advanced technology. Requests for information may be "red flagged" and what better way to access a satellite photo of a potential target than free online? That being said, the quality of the imagery on google maps is not up to targeting standards and the choice of blurred imagery seems to be inconsistent. The cooling towers and reactor building at Hanford are on Google, as are those at Diablo Canyon. It appears that there are a few over zealous security officials so concerned by Google maps that they took it upon themselves to demand pixelation.

Re:Simcurity (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792590)

Like I said, clearer, more current, even custom data is available cheap elsewhere.

Is there any evidence that Google maps are used to target facilities any more than are alternate services less likely to be monitored for "red flags" - or at all? I didn't think so.

Re:Simcurity (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792638)

"Yeah, because the security threats to facilities come from the general public which gets its aerial imagery free from these years-old databases, not from corporate, governement or international orgs with budgets for the plentiful (even cheap) aerial/satellite products with recent updates, higher resolution, GIS overlays, even realtime observations. Or their own aircraft/satellites to generate their own custom data."

What? Are you claiming corporations and government agencies are plotting to blow up the nations nuclear facilities? I think you need to stop watching X-Files reruns.

The real people they are trying to hide it from is terrorists from Kaczynski to the 9-11 hijackers to McVeigh, none of which were rich enough to buy their own satellite.

"These blurred images are just Google caving into various narrow interests with either something negligent to hide from an enquiring public or its reporters, or just pretending to secure facilities with meaningless handwaving, or both."

First of all, how many members of the "enquiring (sic) public" really need overhead shots of nuclear power plants?

Second, Google compiles these images, they do not create them. Do you really think Google hired someone to photograph every square inch of the planet?

Re:Simcurity (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792702)

Are you claiming corporations and government agencies are plotting to blow up the nations nuclear facilities? I think you need to stop watching X-Files reruns.
No, you're the one who's got science fiction on the brain.

Of course governments are plotting to blow up nuclear facilities. What do you think they do in their war departments? What do you think we do in ours about their facilities?

As for corporations, and governments, blowing them up isn't the only thing they'd like to do. They'd like to copy them, or just learn about security, construction or science techniques. That's what espionage, corporate or government, is mainly used for. Every day. For which those orgs already use a lot better resources than Google maps.

And what kind of defense is "who needs this public info"? Aerial images are not on a "need to know" basis. Nor does obscuring them protect them. It does protect them from investigations by journalists and members of the public, who don't have budgets or even knowledge of the alternative sources. But who do pose the real, documented threat to facilities owners, as I pointed to in my original post.

Yeah, reality. Not like that Unabomber, because it's not as exciting to the oversimplistic imagination. But it does have the advantage of being real.

Re:Simcurity (1)

tlh1005 (541240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792700)

I'll just mention one name Timothy McVeigh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_McVeigh [wikipedia.org]

Also, Nuclear Power Plant's don't pop up daily like your favorite Seattle coffee house. It can take 10 years to build one, and most likely any nuclear plant you know of operating today would appear on a 5 year old map.

A blur is almost as good as a bullseye (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792216)

C'mon! Now if you didn't know what you were looking at before, now you know there's a target of interest there.

Re:A blur is almost as good as a bullseye (5, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792256)

C'mon! Now if you didn't know what you were looking at before, now you know there's a target of interest there.

It brings up an interesting point. Now terrorists can use an algorithm to look for fuzzy areas, and will know they are of interest. If you want Al Quida to nail your enemy, then just put a fuzzy tarp on his/her roof.
       

Re:A blur is almost as good as a bullseye (1)

shankarunni (1002529) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792344)

C'mon! Now if you didn't know what you were looking at before, now you know there's a target of interest there.
For one thing, that's hardly a way to track down "points of interest for terror attacks". And it's trivially defeated by blurring 10000+ targets (sensitive and not-so-sensitive ones). The main concern about truly high-resolution images is not "knowing that it's there", but using the 1m-resolution images to look for fences (and weaknesses in them), trees and other obstructions that can be used to hide from watchers, etc. With a good high-resolution image, it's a lot easier to plan a path for attack. (This is what was happening in Basra with the British encampment, which is apparently now blurred in Google..) This is also why certain celebrities want their estates blurred out (so that paparazzi and (other) persons with ill intent can't figure out how to break into the estate easily). Slippery slope and all that.

Take the guided tour (0, Flamebait)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792220)

Hey Ahmed, we're going on vacation !

Killer Blobs, Run! (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792222)

It is *not* an editing artifact; Fuzzy Blob Bacteria (Fuziblobicia Bacterius) has been eating structures all over the world. I think it was even what ruined a banana and avacado that I had on the shelf. It even ate parts of my house. Termites, my ass.
       

Not Just for Nukes (1)

Blimbo (528076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792224)

I noticed this pixilation while Googling my old stomping ground of Windsor, Ontario Canada.
Take look at the area surrounding and including the Ambassador Bridge and you will find the resolution is quite low. (Longitude: -834'28" Latitude: 4218'44")

My guess is any 'terrorist sensitive' location is out of reach with Google Maps/Earth.

Re:Not Just for Nukes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792544)

Google maps doesnt have high resolution pictures of the entire earth. They only get the high res pics of places that people care about, which doesn't include Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Interesting (1)

cheese-cube (910830) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792228)

This is interesting given a recent Slashdot article [slashdot.org] . I wonder do Google limit this censorship power to just "sensitive" areas?

dont blame Google. (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792230)

Curious, I attempted to view the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It too was pixelated.

Have you ever been there? That's how it looks! I think they built it out of Lego.

Re:dont blame Google. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792298)

[pixalated image] Have you ever been there? That's how it looks! I think they built it out of Lego.

Radioactive facility built with Lego's? Now I know we're f8cked
     

Dunno these places seem fine (4, Interesting)

xetovss (17621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792236)

Taking a look at another nuclear power plant, the one in Byron, IL its nice and unblured according to Google http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=byron,+il& ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=42.073969,-89.280159&spn=0.012153, 0.029526&t=h&om=1&iwloc=addr [google.com] so I dunno whats with the guys out in Taxachusetts, err rather Massachusetts but Illinois seems just fine with having their power plants on display throughout the whole world. Heck even this little patch of desert is nice and unblurred http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=area+51&ie =UTF8&z=14&ll=37.228688,-115.804482&spn=0.052144,0 .118103&t=h&om=1 [google.com] so bugger all I dunno. Both are from Google and both are nicely unblurred. - XSS

Re:Dunno these places seem fine (1)

AslanTheMentat (896280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792360)

Same with Ohio, at least in the case of Davis-Besse near Sandusky.

Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant [google.com]

Re:Dunno these places seem fine (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792530)

Same with Ohio, at least in the case of Davis-Besse near Sandusky.

And NJ with Salem Creek Station. Not blurred though the plumes of steam coming from the cooling towers obscure some of it.

-b.

Other country are not blurred ? (1)

imann (538879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792242)

Holland as well (1)

JoostSchuttelaar (863737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792286)

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&z=18&ll=52.078524, 4.316125&spn=0.002285,0.004731&t=k&om=1 [google.com] It's actually my neighbour :) the Dutch Ministry of Defence :) The queen's residence is also blurred: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&om=1&z=18&ll=52.08 0805,4.30663&spn=0.002285,0.004731&t=k [google.com]

Re:Holland as well (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792674)

Yes on Google the sensitive Dutch sites have been blurred just about since the beginning.
Otherwise all of The Netherlands are at a very high resolution, my 1.5 meter satellite dish is about 3-4 pixels across.
The square near the Parliament in The Hague is at one of the highest resolutions anywhere, probably in the order of about 20cm.

On the MS Live Search the whole country is at such a low resolution nothing needs to be blurred :)

Re:Other country are not blurred ? (2, Funny)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792392)

We all know thats just the cover up Area 51, built afterwards in order to remove attention.

The real one is several miles away and uses an active camouflage bubble to hide itself.

Crap, am I posting from an unsecured lo ...CONNECTION TERMINATED...

Re:Other country are not blurred ? (1)

BigFootApe (264256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792460)

Might want to link to the right page :)

Here's a French reactor complex, unblurred.
http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=paluel,+fra nce&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=49.858073,0.635576&spn=0.00723 5,0.021629&t=h&om=1 [google.ca]

Dumb (1)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792262)

Doesn't this seem a little stupid? It's like a terrorist's shopping list. Grab Google and zoom around the map. Mark blurred areas on map. Bomb area. Presto!

Re:Dumb (1)

g-san (93038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792400)

Yeah I can see it now. Gitmo hopeful A is bored one night, starts armchair touring the world with Google Earth, sees a pixelated area and calls up Osama. All good plots start that way.

Re:Dumb (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792438)

It's like a terrorist's shopping list. Grab Google and zoom around the map. Mark blurred areas on map. Bomb area.

So they know that there is 'something' under that blur that might be vulnerable. How to attack? No idea. The thing is.."terrorists" are not much good at bombing at any distance. Even a couple hundred yards is problematic. That requires more equipment than can be hidden under a coat.

So...deny them easily accessible photo intel (Google Earth), and force them to actually come to the location to recon. Where they might be noticed and hopefully stopped.

Old news in The Netherlands (2, Informative)

BaatZ (850474) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792276)

This is old news for dutchmen; when the latest satellite image update swept over holland last may, newspapers were full of reports with government buidlings being pixelated (uitgesmeerd ;) ). All military terrain is censored, the royal palaces, nuclear facilities and even some corporate chemical plants. They're all nicely placemarked in Google Earth if youn want to inspect for yourself.

You think the US is bad, try Japan. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792282)

In Japan, just about anything "sensitive" gets pixelated.

Sizewell nuclear power station (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792310)

Bizarrely Sizewell in the UK is the exact opposite. The area around the reactor is blurry, but the reactor is clear:

Sizewell [google.co.uk]

Re:Sizewell nuclear power station (1)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792406)

See, thats the clever part. The area around it is loaded with land mines.

Old news, really! They did this when Kodak sold.. (4, Interesting)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792314)

... the Maps.

The original maps were bought from Keyhole, a company that Kodak used to own. In the past they only offered LandSat imagery of all Kodak buildings (15 meter), but now they've just gone to the original 1 meter and simply kerneled it. It's EXTREMELY easy to see here- check out the parking lots.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=14616&ie=U TF8&z=17&ll=43.197081,-77.628826&spn=0.006695,0.01 6909&t=h&om=1 [google.com]

I have found it to be a bit annoying as I use features around the airport for identification for my work, and it was always nice to have an outside 'reference' which might or might not agree with the GPS solution.

And why would Kodak care about providing high resolution targetting information of their infrastructure to competitors, not including the 10,000 gallon tanks of various hydrocarbon solvents that are stored near the center of the complex so that, should an explosion occurr, the buildings themselves will buffer 80% of the immediate damage and pressure wave to prevent wanton death and destruction?

For 'sensitive' areas it's not much to ask.

Oh, and btw- No problem seeing 1m resolution here: http://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&z=19&ll=38.889 897,-77.009375&spn=0.001787,0.003347&t=h&om=1 [google.com]

My point? It's not that tough to get high resolution CQQs from your local state bureau. The county mosaics are high resolution and flown 2x per year by the USDA.

Re:Old news, really! They did this when Kodak sold (1)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792402)

Yeah, and most of the buildings at Kodak are empty now, anyway.

Re:Old news, really! They did this when Kodak sold (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792710)

I have found it to be a bit annoying as I use features around the airport for identification for my work, and it was always nice to have an outside 'reference' which might or might not agree with the GPS solution.

For every "terrorist use" there are thousands or more productive uses like yours. Blurring it out only serves to make people's jobs harder and is thus a drag on the economy.

That's terrorism. Miminal threats that cause out of proportion reactions that themselves cause more damage than than any direct terrorist action.

Opting out my house (5, Funny)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792320)

Hey, can I drop a line to the Google Maps service asking them to fat-pixel my house? I have an epiphany toilet on the roof and I got to be sure I avoid awkward situations...

Re:Opting out my house (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792492)

Someone watched one too many episodes of Scrubs...

Re:Opting out my house (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792552)

Hehehe... you uncovered me! :D Now I'll have to blur my house AND my account AND Sacred Heart Hospital...

Maybe all these places (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792326)

were really actually shaped like naughty bits!

Sensitive areas (4, Funny)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792330)

When I'm laying in my backyard I want to be sure Google well pixelate my sensitive areas too ;)

Re:Sensitive areas (2, Funny)

rock217 (802738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792468)

I wouldn't worry, it shouldn't be too many pixels :D

Crystal River 3 Nuclear Generating Station (1)

cyberguyd (50420) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792336)

The Crystal River Nuke plant isn't blurred. This is located at about 28 degrees 57'42" North and 82 degrees 41'45" West.

boston gas tanks blurred (1)

emptybody (12341) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792342)

I wanted to see the painting on the tanks.
pulled up google maps and there it is in its pixelated glory.
Gas tank art all pixelated [google.com]

But how are the terrorists... (1)

Naruki (601680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792364)

going to get their Ryder vans on top of these blurry roofs?

So... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792370)

When terrorist plan their next attack using Google Earth, targets a location near you, and it kills your entire family, all of your friends, and leaves you completely crippled, will you think twice next time about securing sensitive data?

This is very similar to news reporters reporting in Iraq back in 1991. They were perched up on top of hotel's miles away from the battle front, and reporting the precise position, direction, and numbers of the US forces. This information, freely available on CNN gave the enemy real time reports on the US troop movement and lost many US lives because of US reporters not thinking about their actions.

Fast forward to 2005, these same reporters are now in the middle of the battle, inside the battalion where their own ass is on the line. Bet you, you will never see a reporter now tell you exactly what the battalion is doing now.

How about soldiers IN Iraq who blog FROM Iraq, and write about their encounters and what kind of bullets the insurgents use that are actually effective against US armors? This person who blogged about this is costing his friends lives and signed his own death warrant because he had the urge to voice free speech.

Free speech is one thing, but endangering the lives of your comrads, friends, and family just because you believe free speech is a wildcard to voice, print, or show whatever you think you want is another.

Actions have repercussions, no matter how free you or your country are, and those repercussions usually end in death.

Re:So... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792670)

"This is very similar to news reporters reporting in Iraq back in 1991."

You do realise that the US forces didn't invade Iraq in 1991, right?

Oh, no, reading the rest of your post I guess that's pretty unlikely.

Gentilly-2 Nuclear power plant (1)

KeKuN (686715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792380)

I dont know who provided this image to Google Maps, but you can see a nuclear power plant in full quality at Bécancour, Québec. I would say that if you don't ask Google to censor it, they wont do it by thelmself. http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&hl=fr&q=route+de+la +centrale+nucl%C3%A9aire,b%C3%A9cancour+qc,+ca&ie= UTF8&z=16&ll=46.394823,-72.355592&spn=0.006304,0.0 21629&t=h&om=1 [google.ca]

Other services (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792418)

But how about images from satellites operated by other nations, such as SPOT or Sovinformsputnik? ...are probably under closer surveilance by NSA and its buddies. And probably quite a bit of government pressure and a self-enlightened interest to stay in business to make them cooperate to discover potential terrorist surveilance missions. I think just getting someone to make a custom request for that information is the first step in creating a trail that can be tracked.

Three Mile Island is not pixelated...yet (1)

Grandmaster Mort (731817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792436)

I just checked both Google Earth and Google Maps (not that they should be using different satellite maps), and TMI is clear as day. When Google Earth was first released, the first sat map did not have a clear picture of TMI. All of a sudden, the sat map was updated one day, and ever since then TMI has been clear as day.

An even bigger target ??? (1)

Shack24 (1029318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792450)

By blurring locations, aren't you just really painting a big bullseye that's more noticable than the actual location? I'm going to notice a big 1 sq mile blur, before I notice and care about some small building or what ever.....
Just a thought......some whacko would know better to case the real place than check some satellite photo that could be even a few years old....

Iraq not blurred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792458)

I find it disturbing that Iraq is not blurred over US Military installations. I remember being able to see my Node Center clear as a bell. I find that fairly disturbing that any Iraqi insurgent can go on the net and see US C4 assets on the ground... not to mention mess halls and the like.

The one that amuses me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792466)

...is that the White House in Washington DC is clear as day but the Vice President's house (the Naval Observatory) is obscured.

Guess they have to keep the important things hidden, don't they.

Oh the irony... (1)

Varmint01 (415694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792486)

Area 51 is still clear as a bell. I guess you can't blur what doesn't technically exist.

Re:Oh the irony... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792726)

well, the juicy bits are inside the Cloaking Device field. They only had to blur the Cloaking Device itself, but most people don't notice since it's just one pixel big

Not really Google's doing (1)

DrRevotron (994894) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792498)

As some have stated previously, Google gets its aerial maps from many different sources. Plus, if you look at other facilities in other states (Nebraska's Fort Calhoun Nuclear Generation facility is crystal-clear.)
http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=41.51966074,-96.078 807&spn=0.015,0.025&t=k [google.com]

China map info is gone too (1)

_critic (145603) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792512)

My Chinese gf has been complaining for the last few weeks that Google has completely dropped all their China map info from google maps; many areas are now less detailed as well. Is this yet another concession to the Chinese Govt?

<obligatory> I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords </obligatory>

Definitely a conspiracy. (1)

Nate Eldredge (133418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792546)

Yeah! There's all sorts of things like that. Check out the Morro Bay (CA) Power Plant [google.com] . Go ahead, I'll wait.

Don't you think that's an awfully suspiciously located patch of fog? Clearly this is proof that not only is Google covering up "sensitive" images, but that the government's secret Weather Control Division is involved as well.

Hold on a minute, I think I hear a black helicopter outside...

Re:Definitely a conspiracy. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792594)

...patch of fog...

Nuclear power plants often have cooling towers, which put out plumes of steam. So they're actually sort of self-obscuring :)

-b.

Oh Noes! Not a parking lot. (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792548)

In both the photos, the area is mostly parking lot.

What would the terrorists see if these areas weren't blurred? That there were once cars in a University staff parking lot?

This is especially absurd in the umass case, since walking around on a school campus isn't illegal.

Probably the imagery providerer, not google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792566)

Google purchases it's satellite and aerial photography from other companies. In the case of aerial photography, gaining the rights to fly over a city requires obtaining permission from the government and is sometimes subject to intentional blurring. This is also true of satellite imagery from the U.S.G.S. (which provided a lot of the images for keyhole). While it is possible to obtain satellite imagery that is not filtered, it is also more expensive. So stop complaining that your FREE satellite mapping service doesn't show you everything. Want to see it all? Pony up the $$.

Oh oh (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792588)

My neighbor's house is more pixelated than mine. Now I'm paranoid. They always did act a little weird.
     

Live/MSN maps has it uncensored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792596)

It's easier to search for it on maps.live.com, but if your really want a link:
http://maps.live.com/?v=2&sp=Point.r37wmd91pm7n_1% 20University%20Ave%2C%20Lowell%2C%20MA%2001854%2C% 20United%20States___ [live.com]
(For some reason it's more zoomed in and not set on satellite view in the link, so you need to change that if you want to see anything.)

Yes, their images are not as high quality as Google's, but their low quality uncensored version is better than Google's.

Vermony Yankee Nuclear Power Plant (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792664)

Isn't pixellated, it's merely overexposed to the point of showing about the same detail.

Works fine in Local.Live.Com... (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792676)

Both are quite detailed in Local.live.com.

Especially in 3D view...

not just sensitive places (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17792684)

The entire SUNY Stony Brook campus is significantly more blurred than the surronding area. Take a look, you can clear see where the edge of the campus becomes clearer: http://www.google.com/maps?q=Stony+Brook,+NY&ie=UT F8&z=17&ll=40.918393,-73.12839&spn=0.005667,0.0134 75&t=k&om=1 [google.com]

seems not to be the case in Europe (1)

localoptimum (993261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792688)

The Hahn Meitner Institut, Berlin, Germany, is not pixelated, nor is the Technical University of Munich, but the world's most powerful research reactor - the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France, is in an area where google doesn't have imagery at the highest zoom level.

Still, this bollocks doesn't really help does it? A determined person could certainly charter a small plane and do their own photography if they wanted to, even over sites like this!

**AA got that problem handled (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792706)

Not surprisingly, the same areas are blurred in Google Earth. But how about images from satellites operated by other nations, such as SPOT or Sovinformsputnik?
Oh don't worry about that, they have broadcast flags put up just beside their facilities.

Silly conspiracy theorists (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#17792718)

It's perfectly obvious that there was a temperature gradient in the atmosphere between the aircraft and the building, resulting in optical distortion of that building. Sheesh, conspiracy theorists.

Dan East
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