Friday, October 2, 2009

Augmented Google Earth Gets Real-Time People, Cars, Clouds

Augmented Google Earth Gets Real-Time People, Cars, Clouds


September 30th, 2009 The surveillance side of this is the chickenfeed. There’s something far more sinister than the simple surveillance… an angle we haven’t heard about yet.

Tice never did tell his story to Congress about this different aspect of the program.

Well, my guess is that it has something to do with providing surveillance data for this SEAS World Sim thing, and that individual Americans are being watched and potentially targeted with it. Tice’s background seems to involve a lot of traditional electronic warfare, radar and ELINT stuff. Maybe Tice’s deal involved the collection of the mobile phone GPS and/or triangulation data which would provide realtime spacial/geographic data to the SEAS system. In other words, SEAS sees you. They could bring up a map of a city and plot your path based on the information that your phone is exchanging with the mobile network.

Synthetic Environments for Analysis and Simulation
Via: Popular Science:

Researchers from Georgia Tech have devised methods to take real-time, real-world information and layer it onto Google Earth, adding dynamic information to the previously sterile Googlescape.
They use live video feeds (sometimes from many angles) to find the position and motion of various objects, which they then combine with behavioral simulations to produce real-time animations for Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth.

They use motion capture data to help their animated humans move realistically, and were able to extrapolate cars’ motion throughout an entire stretch of road from just a few spotty camera angles.
From their video of an augmented virtual Earth, you can see if the pickup soccer game in the park is short a player, how traffic is on the highway, and how fast the wind is blowing the clouds across the sky.

Up next, they say they want to add weather, birds, and motion in rivers.
They will present their paper at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality next month, but you can read a draft PDF here.
Research Credit: JB


And an interesting reply by someone, with this:

# Zuma Says:
October 1st, 2009 at 6:13 am

from a few years back:
what *is* it with these popsci editors?
popular science? popular to whom? who is the mag’s market?

and then there’s this on space surveillance:

Space Surveillance

The Bush NSP does provide updated and improved language in several areas, most notably, as referenced above, regarding space surveillance. There is a new emphasis on providing U.S. space surveillance data and situational awareness analysis – gathered by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network and managed by Air Force Space Command – to non-military users, including foreign governments and commercial companies. The policy states that the Defense Department shall:

“Have responsibility for space situational awareness; in this capacity, the Secretary of Defense shall support the space situational awareness requirements of the Director of National Intelligence and conduct space situational awareness for: the United States Government; U.S. commercial space capabilities and services used for national and homeland security purposes; civil space capabilities and operations, particularly human space flight activities; and, as appropriate, commercial and foreign space entities.”


  1. I love this blog. This stuff is fascinating.

    I guess it shouldn't surprise me to learn that Google Earth is so extensible, and can incorporate data from all these camera feeds.

    Given Google's passion for scale and the elimination of latency from their systems, this may ultimately turn into a total surveillance anywhere in the country where there's a camera.

    My nightmare scenario involves a terrorist using the new google earth to blow up a car bomb at the precise moment when the target passes a given spot.

    I'm not sure how Google can reconcile the goal of making all human knowlege searchable, and the guideline of "don't be evil" in a case like this.

  2. Don't be evil is all about perception, too..

    and the overwhelming odds of an eventual hack or human error on an epic fail scale is not to be overlooked, either.

    What irks me about this most, is what do they have NOW that this stuff is no longer valid in military applications?

    What has this been replaced with (that is so much better) that would make someone throw this technology to the public sector?

    I'm not necessarily a tin-foiler, but sometimes my mind wanders to these questions, and ultimately, Cui Bono?

    The research is done off site, applied privately for years, and discarded to the public sector after a better replacement is installed.

    Or am I just a nut-job? :P