Thursday, February 15, 2007

PowerPoint, Google Earth, and Iraq

When Saddam Hussein was in power, paper maps were unavailable. Now ruinous post-invasion Iraq has leaped directly into digital mapping with downloads from the mapping/aerial photography program Google Earth. The Telegraph (UK) tells us that Iraqis are using the free information to plan routes that avoid sectarian checkpoints, to reveal the layout of Coalition bases, and to locate villages that might hold rival Iraqi militias. O brave new world!

Ever been to a lecture or a conference presentation where it seemed that all of the content was contained in a few rather vague PowerPoint slides. Newly released PowerPoint slides outlining the American plans for the invasion of Iraq and the post-invasion period have to make people wonder how much planning there was behind that particular PP show. See the NY Times article and a fuller discussion at George Washington University's independent National Security Archive.

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