June 24, 2007:
While Google Streets gets a lot of
media attention for its street level views of major American cities, the
streets of Baghdad began getting that treatment over two years ago. This was in
the name of reducing the effectiveness of roadside bombs. While Google used
trucks equipped with video cameras and GPS equipment, the Department U.S. Army
used half million dollar cameras operating from aircraft. This Buckeye
Precision Geo-Referenced Digital Airborne Camera System created detailed
digital 3-D pictures of the streets below. The pictures could not only be
"driven through", on a computer, but if you took another shot of a
street a few hours later, anything that had changed was spotlighted. This made
it easier to find possible roadside bombs. Indeed, when Buckeye was first
introduced, successful roadside bomb attacks plunged 90 percent in some cities.
The terrorists tried to adapt, but since Buckeye will detect something as small
as a penny, the bomb planting teams had an impossible time covering up all
evidence of their work.
While nearly all towns and cities in Iraq and
Afghanistan have gotten at least one visit from a Buckeye equipped aircraft,
there are not enough aircraft to do the subsequent visits needed for finding
all the roadside bombs getting planted out there. If a certain area shows a
marked increase in bomb activity, a Buckeye aircraft will be sent. But most of
the Buckeyes concentrate on keeping the main supply routes free of bombs.
That's one reason you never hear of an ammo truck of fuel tanker getting blown