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Google ready to discuss imaging concerns

Internet search engine Google has said it takes India’s concerns about satellite imaging of the country seriously and has expressed its willingness to have a dialogue on the issue. Responding to recent comments by President A P J Abdul Kalam over the security issues surrounding Google Earth’s satellite imaging, Google spokeswoman Debbie Frost said: “Google takes governmental concerns about Google Earth and Google Maps very seriously. Google welcomes dialogue with governments, and will be happy to talk to Indian authorities about any concerns they may have.”

Google Earth is among the latest features on the leading search engine that offers world-wide satellite imagery. Explaining how Google Earth works, Frost said, “It is built from information that is already available from a wide range of both commercial and public sources and is no different in concept from the many other internet-based imaging and mapping services that have been available for years.” She said the same information was available to anyone “who flies above or drives by a piece of property. Over the past few months alone, Google’s freely available technology has been used for vital purposes ranging from fighting forest fires to emergency response, rescue, and relief in natural disasters, such as tsunamis and hurricanes.”

According to other sources in Google, the images displayed are approximately one to two years old. They contended that the information in Google Earth is collected over time and is not “real time” in nature. They also clarified that images in Google Earth donot resolve closer than approximately 150 meters, depending on the aerial and satellite imagery. At the lowest resolution, large geographic features such as mountains are visible; and at the highest resolution features such as buildings are visible.

Source: The Economic Times