Archive for the ‘Google Earth’ Category

In the outskirts of Rawalpindi, a Pakistani city less than 10 miles southwest of Islamabad, is what appears to be a park in the shape of an Android robot peeing on an Apple logo.

At least, that’s what shows up if you look up Rawalpindi in Google Maps.

he park is not actually there — it’s an illustration.

It’s not clear how long the image has been there. When you look at “satellite view,” you’ll see a few residential roads, a bit of green space and some hills — nothing that looks remotely like an Android peeing on an apple.

It was discovered Friday by Ahmad Babar, a former Samsung employee living in Lahore, Pakistan.

On Facebook (FB, Tech30), Babar posted that he came across the Android image while looking for a place in Rawalpindi.

Google said the image was not created by an employee. The company has a group of vetted contributors who add to the Maps tool in order to keep Google Maps up to date, and one of those contributors drew the image.

“The vast majority of users who edit our maps provide great contributions, such as mapping places that have never been mapped before,” said Caroline Matthews, a spokeswoman for Google. “We’re sorry for this inappropriate user-created content; we’re working to remove it quickly.”

Google (GOOGL, Tech30) is no stranger to so-called Easter eggs — hidden treasures in its products. Just try typing “tilt,” “do a barrel roll,” “recursion,” “anagram,” “once in a blue moon,” or “answer to life the universe and everything” into Google’s search engine.

In Google Images, type “Atari breakout.” Google Translate has Pirate, Elmer Fudd, Klingon and Pig Latin options.

There are literally dozens of Google Maps Easter eggs in addition to the Android peeing on an Apple (AAPL, Tech30) logo, including a tie-dyed Street View character in Berkeley, California and a “royal carriage” transportation option when asking for directions to Windsor Castle.

A spokeswoman for Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/24/technology/android-peeing-on-apple-google-maps/index.html?iid=TL_Popular

drone

Germany’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property. The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night.

A company spokesman said drones would be tested at rail depots soon. But it is not yet clear how Germany’s strict anti-surveillance laws might affect their use.

Graffiti is reported to cost Deutsche Bahn about 7.6m euros (£6.5m; $10m) a year. German media report that each drone will cost about 60,000 euros and fly almost silently, up to 150m (495ft) above ground. The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Berlin says using cameras to film people surreptitiously is a sensitive issue in Germany, where privacy is very highly valued.

When Google sent its cameras through the country three years ago to build up its “Street View” of 20 cities, many people objected to their houses appearing online. Even Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: “I will do all I can to prevent it”.

Such was the opposition that Google was compelled to give people an opt-out. If householders indicated that they did not want their homes shown online, then the fronts of the buildings would be blurred. More than 200,000 householders said that they did want their homes blanked out on Street View.

A Deutsche Bahn spokesman told the BBC that its drones would be used in big depots where vandals enter at night and spray-paint carriages. The drones would have infra-red sensors sophisticated enough for people to be identified, providing key evidence for prosecutions.

But it seems the cameras would be tightly focused within Deutsche Bahn’s own property – people or property outside the depots would not be filmed, so easing any privacy concerns.

The drone issue is also sensitive in Germany because earlier this month the defence ministry halted an expensive project to develop Germany’s own surveillance drone, called Euro Hawk. The huge unmanned aircraft would be used abroad but would need to be able to fly in German airspace, if only to take off and land on their way to and from the land to be watched, our correspondent reports.

But it became clear that the air traffic authorities were not going to grant that permission. The reasoning was that Germany’s military drones would be unable to avoid collisions with other, civilian aircraft.

Small drones on private land do not need permission from air traffic controllers – big drones do.

So Germany seems to be entering a legal grey area – it is not clear when the flight of a drone may become so extensive that the wider authorities need to intervene, Stephen Evans reports.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22678580

 

A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say.

The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia.

But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.

The phantom island has featured in publications for at least a decade.

Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said that the team was expecting land, not 1,400m (4,620ft) of deep ocean.

“We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area – very deep,” Dr Seton, from the University of Sydney, told the AFP news agency after the 25-day voyage.

“It’s on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We’re really puzzled. It’s quite bizarre.

“How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don’t know, but we plan to follow up and find out.”

Australian newspapers have reported that the invisible island would sit within French territorial waters if it existed – but does not feature on French government maps.

Australia’s Hydrographic Service, which produces the country’s nautical charts, says its appearance on some scientific maps and Google Earth could just be the result of human error, repeated down the years.

A spokesman from the service told Australian newspapers that while some map makers intentionally include phantom streets to prevent copyright infringements, that was was not usually the case with nautical charts because it would reduce confidence in them.

A spokesman for Google said they consult a variety of authoritative sources when making their maps.

“The world is a constantly changing place, the Google spokesman told AFP, “and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour’.’

The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy in Sydney says that while most explorers dream of discovering uncharted territory, the Australian team appears to have done the opposite – and cartographers everywhere are now rushing to undiscover Sandy Island for ever.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487