Google Earth “Helps Military Mission Planners”

    July 19, 2007

On the BAE Systems website, there are three “Top News” items.  One involves the “world’s most advanced warship.”  Another mentions the “first lightweight RPG protection kits” for a certain type of Army vehicle.  The last “Top News” item refers to Google.

No, this isn’t a sign that Google’s finally trying to take over the world.  Instead, “A new version of BAE Systems’ image analysis and mapping software enables analysts to evaluate and share intelligence data more effectively by integrating with Google Earth and the ESRI geodatabase,” according to the official press release.

As a result, military planners in the U.S., U.K., and Australia may benefit – BAE Systems is a well-positioned defense contractor in each of these countries.

Of course, after stories that Google Earth poses a threat to the same nations, this development provides an interesting contrast.  That’s not to say that the technology is “good,” in some moral sense, or even that the benefits outweigh the risks, but it obviously isn’t “bad,” either.

No one at Google leaped to explain this twist – I was sort of hoping the press release would include a quote about “tarrorist-huntin’” or something of that nature – but Dan London, the vice president of Geospatial eXploitation Products for BAE Systems, stated, “Out in the field, where SOCET GXP is used to make quick decisions, efficiency and accuracy are crucial.  With the integration of Google Earth and ESRI database, SOCET GXP transforms data into usable intelligence.”

Hat tip to ITWeb’s Leon Engelbrecht.