Monday, February 18, 2008

"Fallout" Reprecussions

"Fallout" Reprecussions
Since I published "Fallout from Dumb vs. Dumber" quite a bit has happened in terms of online satellite imaging services. Much of it has been good, much of it has been bad, but all the same Fallout has made an impact.
Within 3 days of publishing "Fallout" several locations mentioned there were updated on google/wiki maps. Most prominent were Wilhelmshaven and Eckernforde. Instead of showing recent images google/wiki had used the same imaged Microsoft used for those locations, the only difference being these images had a better high image resolution than on Microsoft. More on this image borrowing by servers later. One place that did show a recent image was Casablanca. Unlike the two German ports Casablanca's images were updated to show all 3 FFG's and most of Morocco's Navy in port. Within several weeks other locations were soon uncensored. The british navy base at Faslane was uncensored and there one will see 2 Vanguard class SSBN's and 2 Swiftsure class SSN's in port there. While Ningbo in China is still censored Zhoushan Island has stopped censoring. There one will see a Hangzhou class DDG, several Jinan class DDG's, Anqing and Changde class FFG's, and a large assortment of LS and PT Craft. In the case of Faslane the censoring was to conceal a strength that could be taken as weakness, for Zhoushan the reason was to conceal overwhelming strength.
One major update is that recently the Netherlands has ceased censoring it's Naval bases on MSN but not on google/wiki and on other servers, partly because of the outrageous behavior of people on wikimapia, discussed below, they do not want their places defamed. In viewing the main Naval base at Den Helder one will see the De Zeven Provincen and Tromp DDG's, a Walrus class SSK, 3 Karel Doorman class FFG's, and a small assortement of PT craft. Nearby at the Naval Museum one will see the 3 Museum ships Tonijin, Abraham Crijinssen, and Schorpien preserved. Ireland and Tunisia have also recently uncensored their bases at Cork and Bizerte respectively, Cork showing 5 of Ireland's 8 warships, Bizerte showing a few FF, PT, and LS. Overall, not strong forces, but still showing that the navies of the world pay attention to satellite imaging.
In viewing the Naval bases of the world I have noticed that the 3 major users of satellite imaging have a lot of manipulation and tend to be extremely selective in choosing which locations to update. This becomes clear when viewing Bremerton and Sydney on google/wiki maps. At Bremerton one will see an updated image where several Ohio class SSBN's are in port and the Ex CGN's South Carolina and Mississippi are being cut up for scrap, the latter 2 being somewhat blurry. Most noticeable is how the Ex SSN Triton is shown twice in Bremerton. At sydney one will see distorted images of australian navy ships in the harbor. Whether this is deliberate or accidental remains to be seen.
The images on MSN are another matter entirely. In viewing them one notices they are often copies of Yahoo images. Most striking is the image of Rio de Janeiro, where one will see the CV Minas Gerias at dock, when that ship is currently at Alang and has not been in service with the Brazilian navy since 2002. Also of interest are the images of the naval installations at Philadelphia, Bremerton, and San Diego. Philadelphia still has images of ships which have either been scrapped or sunk, as does Bremerton and San Diego. Other ports which show on MSN the same old Yahoo images are St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Qingdao, Goteborg, Karachi, Simons Town, Lima, Casablanca, Dubai. Busan shows the new Dodko LHD in port, but other than that MSN has not made serious updates to it's satellite images. This makes one wonder if there is some censorship going on. Of interest is how the Naval facilities shown on Yahoo at Bandar Abbas, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cherbourg, Brest, Surabaya, Oran, Algiers, Tripoli, Constanta, Ferrol, and Lisbon, to name a few, are not shown on MSN. Plus Yahoo now for whatever reason does not allow satellite images to be printed up, one possible reason for MSN's actions. Though MSN, by removing custom print options so people can't write down the content of their images on a print up of the image. If anything MSN and Yahoo each could stand to update their maps.
When viewing images on google/wiki maps one sees more locations in detail but only selective updates are done. For example the only naval bases in North America that have been regularly updated are Norfolk and Esquimalt. Of the South American bases only Montevideo and Cartagena have been updated. None of the African bases except Casablanca have been updated, and Oran is still censored there. In the Gulf Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, al-Jubayl are not regularly updated with only Bahrain and Oman regularly updating their images. Much of Europe still does not update. This is evident as Brest, Lorient, Cherbourg, Ferrol, Cartagena, Bergen, Karlskrona, Goteborg, Kotor, Tallinn, Liepaja, Klaipeda, Trabzon, Samsun, Souda, Gdynia still use old images. Russia has been updating most of it's bases, though Petropavlovsk-Kamchatisky and Sevastopol still use old images. China regularly updates it's Naval bases, however other Asian and pacific nations do not. Japan has not updated it's bases in well over a year, South Korea still censors Donghae and Ulsan and will not update it's other bases except for Busan. North Korea and Taiwan sporadically update their bases. Vitenam, Singapore, and The Philippines regularly update, while Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia do not. India regularly updates Mumbai, Kochi, and Kolkata yet Visakhapatnam, Goa, and Alang remain unupdated. Bangladesh regularly updates yey Pakistan and Sri Lanka do not regularly update their Naval bases. And finally australia updates but New zealand doesn't.
There are many reasons for this unwillingness to update satellite images of Naval bases and to allow censorship. As I discussed in the two previous articles security is one reason. However, with the misbehaviors by the idiots at wikimapia another concern has arisen. As wikimapia is run by a racket of 310 idiots who decide what the facts are about a certain place whether right or wrong, often labeling places wrong, slandering others, and preventing people from putting up correct info and removing slanderous/defamatory comments. Many governments realize this, as well as many individual persons, and that is one reason for the Netherlands uncensorship on MSN but not on google/wiki. The same is somewhat true on google, though google's variants are more concealed. Such dependance on false information is self-destructive and it won't be long before wikimapia and wikimedia have to cave in to others to clean up their act. Considering the potential they have they abuse what they have they squander it by bashing others and wasting talent.
The uses of online satellite imaging for Naval/military intelligence is being discovered and used, though lately there is much abuse by those who manage satellite imaging. The future again is uncertain.
Peter Khan Zendran

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