Thursday, June 16, 2011

Google Earth: The Libyan Rebels Radar System

Google apparently has helped the Arab Spring freedom movement with more than just Wael Ghonim, the Google executive-turned-Egyptian revolutionary who helped overturn Hosni Mubarak.

It turns out that the popular Google Earth application that provides pinpoint satellite imagery has become part of a de facto computerized targeting system for the Libyan rebels' artillary and mortars that have been raining down on Moammar Gadhafi's forces.

"This is a very important tool," Mohammad Graisi, a lecturer in genetic engineering who organizes mortar teams, told The Times of London. "They search through binoculars. Let's say there is a treeline with troops in it -- the Google map allows us to work out how far and how many degrees of angle it is for our teams."

The rebels artillery commanders credit an engineer named Ahmed Eyzert, who figured out in March how to calibrate a French mortar-ranging table with the images and data provided by Google Earth. Eyzert was killed in actionh three weeks later.

There are also reports of using IPhone location apps and even video games to help with targeting.

Of course nothing beats the former British SAS special operations spotters on the ground in Libya. Those mercenaries work directly with NATO to coordinate their smart-bomb attacks.

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