Google Earth In Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan Air Force' started by fatman17, Aug 3, 2009.

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  1. fatman17
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    fatman17 PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    Google Earth In Pakistan

    August 2, 2009: The Pakistani Air Force admitted that they have been using Google Earth to locate targets, and help guide pilots operating in the tribal territories.

    The Pakistani government has never been flush, thus any major mapping effort in the tribal territories, never got done. So, like many of the players in this war, including the Americans, the Pakistanis use Google Earth. No one in the military is surprised anymore by this. In the last four years, Google Earth (earth.google.com) has revolutionized military intelligence, but the military doesn't like to admit it. But by putting so much satellite photography at the disposal of so many people, in such an easy-to-use fashion, Google Earth has made much more information available to military professionals (and terrorists, and criminals and academics, etc), who quickly appreciated what a splendid new tool they had.

    To the U.S. Department of Defense, Google Earth's major problem was not it's ease-of-use, but the manner in which it showcased the shortcomings of the American NGA (National Geospatial Intelligence Agency). The NGA is responsible for taking the satellite photos, spiffing them up as needed, and getting them to the troops. Trouble is, the stuff still isn't getting to the troops that need it, when they need it. This was made very obvious when Google Earth showed up, and demonstrated how you can get satellite images to anyone, when they need it, with minimal hassle.

    For over two decades, the generals, and other officers with access to "satellite imagery", have been complaining about the difficulty they have in getting their hands on this stuff. Hundreds of billions of dollars has been spent on photo satellites since the 1960s, and the troops always seem to get leftovers, if anything. Yet the satellite people regularly con Congress out of more money so they can build more satellites, and neat systems that will get the satellite imagery "to the troops." The goods never arrive, or never arrive in time. Generals gave angry testimony before Congress about this non-performance after the 1991 war. The satellite people seemed contrite, and said they would make it right. If given the money to do it. They got the money and the troops got nothing.

    Now the troops got access to Google Earth, and have seen what they have been missing. To make matters worse, the software Google Earth uses to get the job done, was first developed for the NGA. But the way the NGA operates, you have to worry about security considerations, and all manner of bureaucratic details, before you can deploy a useful tool. The troops are fighting a war, you say? Well, we still have to deal with security and keeping the paperwork straight. But now the troops are beating NGA over the head with Google Earth, and Congress took notice. However, NGA bureaucrats are close at hand, and the angry troops are far away. Progress is still slow. But at least the troops have Google Earth, unfortunately, so does the enemy.

    But, as has been demonstrated in Pakistan, while the Taliban may have access to Google Earth, they don't have access to F-16s. In the last ten weeks, Pakistani F-16s have flown over 400 sorties against Taliban targets in the Swat valley, and Waziristan. Google Earth showed the pilots what they were bombing, and how a pilot would see it. The U.S. supplied the Pakistanis with high quality aerial cameras, and soon the Pakistanis had high quality (and higher resolution than Google Earth) digital photos of the key areas their bombers were operating over. But Google Earth remained the go-to tool when some obscure area, that the expensive U.S. cameras had not gone over yet, suddenly showed up as a potential new target. The Pakistanis are also using more laser guided bombs. While their accuracy reduces civilian casualties, you need detailed aerial photos of the target area, before you send the F-16s in. Another problem the Pakistanis have is that they have no bombers that can operate at night. So the Taliban tend to move at night.

    strategy page

    August 2, 2009: Pakistan has flown over 400 F-16 bombing and photo recon sorties over Swat and Waziristan in the last four months. Pakistan has 40 older F-16s, which have been upgraded with laser designators. These aircraft carry U.S. Paveway laser guided bombs. Pakistani F-16s also drop unguided bombs. The U.S. has provided ten high resolution digital cameras for the F-16s, which can take detailed pictures of large areas the camera equipped F-16 flies over. The bombers have attacked buildings and compounds believed to house Taliban members and weapons
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  2. Kasrkin
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    Kasrkin PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    I think Google Earth has its limitations, mostly in terms of the resolutions available. I feel it would be impossible to acquire targets from the data-base of the program alone, which is not always updated. Sometimes the images can be as much as 3 months old, but for locating isolated villages, mapping the topographies, checking the border margins, or just familiarizing the pilots from an 'eye in the sky', its good.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  3. Awesome
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    Awesome RETIRED

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    That's bad, we should try to get some sort of real-time feed from the Americans or if they don't agree then China.

    Such things would count towards reducing the civilian casualties in the long run.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  4. Righteous_Fire
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    Righteous_Fire ELITE MEMBER

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    :agree: Yeah! I agree, its sad and bad :tsk: PAF should be more advanced than this :cry: it makes me cry to know that our "Air Force" uses off the net cheap and old civilian private open data sources :tdown:
  5. kiuppal
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    Using Google does not mean that they are using data sources of Google, It is just a visualisation tool to display geographical information. Any data source can be used as an Overlay in GEarth. Limitation of Google Earth is its topographic data which cannot be replaced with overlays but it should not be a big issue because original topographic data is of very good quality.
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  6. kiuppal
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    kiuppal FULL MEMBER

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    World Wind by NASA is another interesting tool of same kind.
  7. fatman17
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    fatman17 PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    hey if it works and gets the job done - its ok with me!
  8. TOPGUN
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    TOPGUN PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Nothing wrong with it at all as fatman17 said its getting the job DONE!
  9. Arsalan
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    hey come on!
    i mean what wrong if it "get the job done", this is what really matters!
    isnt it much better to acheive desired results without spending money then to spen millions and billions to get the same thing done!
    i do not deny the importance of more advanced survalliance systems but if the off net cheap and old civilian private open data sources can do the job for your, its more then fine with me!
    i hope you get the point!

    regards!
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  10. mughaljee
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    mughaljee FULL MEMBER

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    at GEO.TV program , (kamran khan kay sath) a retired airforce officer, said yes we were using google earth but not now , but what they are using right now , he did't explain ? and also said we will get some equipment for night strike soon.
  11. fatman17
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    fatman17 PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    targeting pods i think ALQ - ?
  12. Righteous_Fire
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  13. jalip
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    American are Using it in Afghanistan not in US that's very bad army and air force should have its own up-to-date modern system I hope they only used it for understanding the area. how can they used google earth for real time mission its only provides the old pics of the area ?
  14. RazorMC
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    RazorMC SENIOR MEMBER

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    i'm sure they're not using it for real-time missions, cmon ppl, this is PAF, google maps may be used for understanding the terrain.

    but the point is we definitely need military satellites urgently. i said "satellites" because we can't just focus on one area, we need to look at the bigger picture and aim to becoming a major power at least.
  15. Mercenary
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    I think they might be using Google Earth to spot villages and stuff...using the longitude and latitude coordinates