Google Earth reveals the devastation in Haiti

Satellite imagery showing the destruction caused by this week's earthquake is available via Google Earth and Google Maps.

Google responded to the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti earlier this week by working with satellite imagery company GeoEye to quickly make images of the destruction available in Google Earth and Google Maps. The images were taken at approximately 10:27 AM Eastern time on Wednesday, and could prove to be a helpful tool for aid organizations attempting to survey and assess the damage to Haiti's infrastructure.

To view the images you can either download the KML file to add an image layer to Google Earth or you can use the Google Earth browser plug-in to view the images on Google Maps. Google says it will automatically update the Haiti layer as more data and images become available, but Google Earth users only need to download the KML file once.

Google has been working to develop a better map of Haiti through its crowd sourced Map Maker application ever since the country was hit by hurricanes Gustav and Ike last fall. Map Maker encourages users to enhance Google Maps by adding street names, points of interests, and editing driving directions for Google's satellite image-based maps. In a blog post on Wednesday, Google said it had made all of its raw Map Maker data about Haiti available to the United Nations to aid in relief efforts.

The best way to understand the devastation is to compare before and after images by switching the Haitian layer on and off.

The complete scope of the devastation to hit the tiny nation, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, is still unknown, but many fear the death toll will reach at least 100,000.

If you are planning to make a donation to Haitian relief efforts, be advised the FBI is warning users to watch out for bogus charities, and security firm Symantec has noted that e-mail scams pleading for assistance have begun to surface.

Connect with Ian on Twitter (@ianpaul).

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google Earth

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?