Little tricks and big lies

Secrecy and manipulation of geo-data

Retouched: White House World Wind, NASA
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Once you have seen Mount Everest from above or looked at the US president on the roof with free programs like Google Earth and Co. that has been possible for a few months. Satellite imagery for everyone is the name of the new trend on the Internet, which inspires even diehard geography muffle.

But the curiosity of the virtual explorers drives governments and security experts the cold sweat on the forehead. They fear the abuse of the former exclusive close-ups of secret military bases or nuclear power plants, even count on terrorist attacks. And demand the secrecy of sensitive objects.

Technically, the corruption of digital geo-data is not a problem. The providers of satellite shows, claiming unlimited freedom of information, must already admit that the high-resolution aerial photos are not as virgin as they may seem.

And even the new satellite navigation system Galileo, with which Europe wants to become independent of NASA's Global Positioning System, reveals on closer inspection that cooperation with the US military demands compromises in civilian data transfer.

The secrecy or falsification of geographic information is not an invention of the digital age. Ever since the first artful sea and world maps were printed, they have always been reserved for the powerful. With maps, continents could be conquered and wars won. They were spied on, copied, stolen, treasured like treasures. And sometimes a bit retouched ... ad

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Edda hit
As of: 13.01.2006