Recently a U.S. Geological Survey committee posted online new guidelines that note standard procedures for disseminating imagery, including images that are used in software products like Google’s online maps and Google Earth. The guidelines, issued in response to security concerns, cover publicly available geospatial data on natural or man-made features of the earth. Data is provided to USGS via various sources, such as privately licensed satellite companies and the Defense and State departments.
The guidelines target organizations where the imagery originates and aim to strike a balance between safeguarding information and sharing it with the public. While the guidelines outline how organizations can better evaluate whether content is “sensitive” or poses a security risk, they “do not grant any new authority.”