Google Earth changes our perceptions

by Mathew on September 27, 2007 · 6 comments

Came across a quirky little story from Associated Press yesterday, but one that sort of made me think (and Danny Sullivan too, it seems). It seems that the U.S. Navy is planning to spend $600,000 (about the cost of a new wrench or toilet seat in military terms) to change the structure or appearance of a little-known Navy barracks unit near San Diego. Why? Because it looks like a swastika in Google Earth.

a_brown_swats_070927300w.jpg

How many planes and helicopters have flown over that building in the 40 years since it was built? Thousands, I would assume. It’s probably been one of those quirky things that local pilots know, but hardly anyone else is aware of. Until Google Earth, of course — or Keyhole, as it was known before Google bought it. Someone first spotted it while using Keyhole in 2005.

According to several reports, the Navy realized the buildings would look like a swastika from the air after they were built, but decided that it wasn’t important because not that many people would be able to see it.

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