Sunday, March 11, 2007

India from Google Earth (Part 1)

The government is trying to get Google Earth to go easy on sensitive Indian installations. The government's latent irritation with Google Earth was legitimised when President APJ Abdul Kalam, in his wisdom, questioned the safety of having such high-rez photos available for free.

When former Deputy National Security Advisor Vijay Nambiar cried himself hoarse in March last year about the resolution of Google Earth (no pun intended), I did a story in The Indian Express on the universality of technology -- Google Earth doesn't discriminate. The story was replete with photos of military sites in Pakistan and China. Bot the argument, in hindsight, is a little more complicated than that. I find it very easy to be a proponent of technology like Google Earth's. Here's the follow-up story I did the following day -- the Navy chief and Air chief said they had no issues with Google Earth, but Gen JJ Singh did.

Here's what then Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash had told me: "We have always been occupied with how to conceal our bases and ships better, but this is information that has always been available for payment, so it is no real worry for the Navy. It’s also a question of resolution and the fact that the images are dated.’’

Anyway, I spent an hour the other day (and will spend more in the future) using the tool to capture India's military bases. And here they are, for posterity, in case Google does buckle and censor its eyes over India. That would be such a tragedy. Anyway, here's Part I on IAF/Navy air bases. Enjoy the photos and, of course, you need to click to enlarge them. All photos are, of course, ©Google Earth.

Mirage-2000s at Gwalior.

Two Mi-26s (one with rotors on!) at Chandigarh.

Superb clarity. Il-76s and Il-78s at Agra.

Il-78 and an Avro at Leh.

Jaguars and MiG-29s at Gwalior.

MiG-25 Foxbats (since gone) at Bareilly. My eyes go misty when I see this.

Su-30Ks at Bareilly (old photo, these babies are gone now)

Floggers at Hasimara. Love this photo for some reason.

MiG-21s at Srinagar.

MiG-21s lined up at MOFTU, Tezpur.

MiG-21s at Jamnagar.

MiG-21s at Bagdogra.

This is a beauty. MiG-21s at MOFTU, Tezpur, one on take-off roll.

Choppers at Thoise. Little fuzzy.

MiG-21 blast pens at Nal

Mi-17s at Car Nicobar. What's that white plane below?

Canberras at Bareilly.

One of my favourites. Tu-142s at INS Rajali, Arakkonam

A Navair Tu-142 and Il-38 at Dabolim. Common sight.

Coming soon, Army and Navy bases. Contributions are welcome. Mail them to


alex said...

hilarious! excellent job! won't this mean trouble? can't wait for the navy grabs! do you think you will be able to get a grab of the IAC at Cochin?!

Abhiman said...

Hello Mr. Shiv. In my view, although the free availability of images of Indian security installation may be a redundant issue because higher resolution images may also be purchased separately, it is indeed a security threat.

Now, indigenous extremist organizations like ULFA, Naxals, SIMI and others may also utilize the images to plot attacks.

All naval bases being visible so openly may be detrimental to halt the operations of smugglers, who may devise their routes/plans accordingly.

Thus, in my view the opposition as expressed by General J.J Singh are indeed valid and must be acted upon.

Again, the fact that India's opposition was entertained by Google may be confirmation of the adage that "Strength repects strength" (google being a smaller metaphor for the US; it is a large US company that is an authority by itself).

Thank you.

vish said...

Good job. I bookmarked and tagged some of the places here. You could follow that way, to mark new locations: they get referenced for future visits, and direct KML-Google Earth links are available on them.

Shiv Aroor said...

thanks vish. keep them coming! my next post will be on navy bases. let's see if i can find some new stuff.

bennedose said...

Frankly, you have shown yourself capable of doing what a child could do given a computer and an internet connection. It is obvious that those who need images of India's bases can get them from Google Earth without your assistance.

How about putting in better work and posting pictures of Chinese air and naval bases? That way it would be less easy to be critical of the infantile effort you have put in while getting someone else's knickers in a twist?