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Google Earth’s origins and future

This is an interesting article about Google increasing its business with the federal government. Yesterday, Google kicked off “a two-day sales meeting that attracted nearly 200 federal contractors, engineers and uniformed military members eager to learn more about its technology offerings.”

An interesting tidbit in the article describes how government agencies use enhanced versions of Google Earth to display information for the military on the ground in Iraq and to track airplanes that fight forest fires across the country. The article says that the technology behind Google Earth “got its start in the intelligence community, in a CIA-backed firm called Keyhole. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.”

Yesterday, Google’s partner, Lockheed Martin, demonstrated a Google Earth product that it helped design for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s work in Iraq. These included displays of key regions of the country and outlined Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, as well as U.S. and Iraqi military bases in the city. Neither Lockheed nor Google would say how the geospatial agency uses the data.

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