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Haiti: A Fresh Look, From the Air

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, January 14 2010


Google put together this before-and-after shot using newly available imagery of Haiti, post-earthquake.

Google announced last night that it has released a map layer with up-to-date imagery of Haiti.

The imagery, which Google wrote on its blog was captured yesterday morning by the firm satellite and aerial imaging firm GeoEye, shows the devastation wrought upon the heavily populated area around Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

"The imagery is remarkably sharp,"Google Earth Blog, which is not affiliated with Google, observed. "[it] shows some amazing scenes such a a soccer field turned into a make-shift camp (shown above), and smoke continuing to billow out of some buildings."

On their official blog, Google pledged to keep looking for fresh imagery. The search engine giant has also established their own landing page for disaster relief efforts.

Meanwhile, as we have already noted, you can get a $10 donation straight to the Red Cross as easily as sending a text message to a short code — that's the keyword HAITI to the shortcode 90999.

Mobile carriers and service providers have agreed to take a pass on processing fees for these donations.

President Barack Obama's address this morning on the subject of Haiti has been released on the White House blog. In the address, he said, among other things:

This morning, I can report that the first waves of our rescue and relief workers are on the ground and at work. A survey team worked overnight to identify priority areas for assistance, and shared the results of that review throughout the United States government, and with international partners who are also sending support. Search and rescue teams are actively working to save lives. Our military has secured the airport and prepared it to receive the heavy equipment and resources that are on the way, and to receive them around the clock, 24 hours a day. An airlift has been set up to deliver high-priority items like water and medicine. And we're coordinating closely with the Haitian government, the United Nations, and other countries who are also on the ground.

Obama warned that impassable roads, damaged port, as-yet-incompletely repaired communications networks and the scope of the devastation are all impeding progress, and the relief efforts are just beginning.

I've reached out to GeoEye for more information about their role in this and have yet to hear back.

Another unanswered question is how, if at all, the many eyes on the Internet can use this map to help relief efforts.