Google scrambles to fix Katrina map flap

Google has responded to accusations of "airbrushing history" after the search giant decided to replace images of areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans with photos taken before the 2005 storm. The imagery angered New Orleans residents and prompted a letter from the House Committee on Science and Technology. Google Maps director John Hanke said in a written statement that the move was an effort to improve the quality of Google Maps, and not an attempt to erase the evidence of Hurricane Katrina: "In September 2006, the storm imagery was replaced with pre-Katrina aerial photography of much higher resolution as part of a regular series of global data enhancements. Make no mistake, this was not any effort on our part to rewrite history." To rectify the situation, Google said that it had speeded up the processing of newer high-resolution images that correctly display storm damage. The images now show the effects of the storm, which killed 1,826 people and caused more than $81bn in damage.

News source: vnunet

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The feds gave them money years back to establish a dyke system, but the state spent it on restaurants (to sustain their culture). The god damned French are crooked their as much as they are here in Canada (Quebec) - using baseless nationalism to get money (hint: arts and culture do not come from money, it is rather the other way around, such as Hollywood).

I admit that I have admiration for Americans for not taking **** from Louisiana, unlike Quebec who threatens separation if we don't abide their racist sign laws and money for "fiscal imbalance".

Wow, Google did that.

This has NOTHING to do about Google, it's all about the "victims" trying to keep in the limelight, what with even the local governments wasting millions of dollars and nothing is getting done, watch, now we'll hear about how they need more of MY money to fix their craphole city.

Eh whiners got nothing better to do really just a waste of tax payers money. My fave part of google maps is my friend had a blue tarp as part of his roof for a few months and they have a picture of it on google maps all normal houses then one with a blue splotch on it

Katrina missed New Orleans, it was a direct hit on Biloxi, Mississippi, but you havent heard bitch1 from Biloxi. The leves failed in New Orleans because the incompetent local government, I actually felt bad for those poor people until they actually re-elected Nagen and Blanco. ..I dont give a crap about them anymore. You got the gov you voted for. I dont care in the least.

Damn I completely forgot my reason for posting.

The issue here is similar to past natural disasters such as the 1906 San Fransisco Earthquake. For corporations to hide the fact that there was damage, and that everything is "alright" is not right. In that earthquake, all of the media outlets, tourism boards, politicians and all decided that the earthquake caused very little damage, and that it was all the fault of the fire, so as to keep attracting people to SF (a fire is preventable, an earthquake is not). I wrote a freaking 10 page paper on that issue.

This covering up should be avoided, even if Google probably did not have those direct intentions.

A devastating fire hit my area a few years ago and google has kept the old pictures! I'm so raging mad!!!!! :P

Oh well, I guess if we worry about stupid stuff like internet maps, then we can ignore the REAL issues.

I was born in Louisiana and don't care about this. It's ridiculous.

There will always be something to complain about. Residents received so much media ridicule they are lashing out. A very high percentage of residents in the areas in and surrounding New Orleans lived in Government assisted homes before the storm hit. After the storm wiped out those homes all those residents who were getting their homes free started complaining about when their home will be replaced (Why isn't the government jumping on their high horse to replace our home we never paid for). It sickens me to see that people would sit all day and complain about something incredibly stupid instead of going out to find a damn job.

Some people are looking to the government to make them rich. The government can help get OUT of poverty (for those select few who TRY to get out of poverty), it can never make one rich (it can, but not in legal ways). The other way is communism/socialism, and it doesn't make anyone better off. :P

Sigh.. there will always be something to complain about.

Even Katrina.. which has been driven into the ground already anyway.

/yawn

my house still isn't in google earth. it's just a barren dirt mound. are they trying to deny that I have a house here. Cuz i don't live on top of a dirt mound.

or maybe they can tell the future...oh dear god, I'm moving.

I'm sorry, but if this is what people are getting worked up about, they need to stop and think. We're talking about a program and satellite images. It's not like Google is making some subliminal statement like they don't believe the hurricane happened or something.

This whole issue is like a kid pitching a fit to get his way. It really doesn't matter that much. Our area hasn't had new imagery in at least 10 years and it's in black and white, but I'm not complaining about it. This is pathetic.

Did a devestating storm destroy much of your area in the last 10 years? No? Then you have no reason to gripe about it. The fact remains that Google had more recent data on the site for a while, then put older data up in place of it, making it look like the areas affected by Katrina were back the way they were. I can assure you that this is NOT the case (I live in central Mississippi, but most of my family is on the Gulf Coast, and I visit there regularly).

roadwarrior said,
Did a devestating storm destroy much of your area in the last 10 years? No? Then you have no reason to gripe about it. The fact remains that Google had more recent data on the site for a while, then put older data up in place of it, making it look like the areas affected by Katrina were back the way they were. I can assure you that this is NOT the case (I live in central Mississippi, but most of my family is on the Gulf Coast, and I visit there regularly).

If I were looking at a map, I wouldn't want to see all the streets flooded; I'd want something that would help do what a map does -- guide someone to their intended destination. A flooded city map doesn't show that.

Justin- said,

If I were looking at a map, I wouldn't want to see all the streets flooded; I'd want something that would help do what a map does -- guide someone to their intended destination. A flooded city map doesn't show that.

The more recent images don't necessarily show flooded streets, but it is certainly more representative of the state of the area than those from before Katrina. And you seem to be confused here, we are talking about the satellite images of the area, not the line-drawing maps. I don't know too many people who actually navigate by satellite images when they are visiting a new area.

In south Mississippi, there are still some bridges that have not yet been completely rebuilt (the one between Ocean Springs and Biloxi for one), and if I were someone visiting the area for the first time, that is certainly something that I'd want to know.

We want the ruined New Orleans dammit!! :p

Bah, don't they have better things to do...
They can't be very observant either... Neither Live Local nor Google Maps is always current on the maps.

Will you and others please pay attention? Google HAD images on there that were more recent, but they replaced them with images from before Katrina because those images were of a higher resolution. Personally, I'd rather have lower resolution accurate images than higher resolution inaccurate ones. It seems that some people in Congress agree with me.

I think it should have both versions on there, with a pre/post Katrina button. That way, you can see what Louisiana looked like before it became waterhole with dragons.

Why do you assume I didn't pay attention? What I said above about GE/GM and Live that they aren't accurate is true.

And I know what happened, and I also know that Google sometimes replaces images for quality rather than accuracy. They have before. People have posted on forums that they've suddenly changed "back" in time, although the overall result may be that they have both improved accuracy and age. So sure, maybe they goofed up here, but what the hell does the Congress have to say about this and what kind of maps they use? Again, don't they have better things to do than to meddle with the quality of service this company delivers? It's not like it's a conspiracy or anything to cover up a hurricane. Again, this happens now and then, it's just that in this case it was particularly noticeable for obvious reasons.

Now, can *I* assume you won't make as many assumptions?

Who cares if Google HAD hires images on there to begin with. It's thier site and software and the government should stay out of it.

SomeAzn said,
Um, since forever. Just because a company is public doesn't mean its immune to house committees.

They can't make them do anything they can only make suggestions - Google can put any picture they want there.

SomeAzn said,
Um, since forever. Just because a company is public doesn't mean its immune to house committees.

not really, google is a public company that can decide what it does with the services it offers. Unless its government regulated they cant tell them to change an image... heck so under this theory i can scream to them that my towns image hasnt been updated since 1993 and its massivly out of date, therefore they have to make google purchase new images for it to comply with them? that doesnt work in public or private companies, only government ran ones or government related ones... unless they make a law that says all satalite map services have to have current pictures (which is impossible unless you own the Iknois satelite or one of the others) and those images cost a lot to produce! and heck ontop of that its a free service from google, no one should be complaining at all... this service use to cost a good amount a year to use! when it was keyhole... i could see in that case screaming we are paying for out of date images...