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EARTH OBSERVATION
China launches own version of Google Earth

Google says 250,000 Germans opt out of Street View
Berlin (AFP) Oct 21, 2010 - Nearly a quarter of a million Germans have asked Google to block images of their houses, the US Internet giant said Thursday as it prepared to launch its Street View service in the country. Google has already rolled out its navigation service in 20 countries but exceptionally, due to heightened privacy concerns in Germany, has offered to pixel out buildings before the pictures are published online. "We're now close to launching Street View imagery for the 20 biggest cities in Germany and we've counted the number of households in those cities which decided to opt out," said Andreas Tuerk, Google's Germany product manager. "Out of a total of 8,458,084 households, we received 244,237 opt-outs, which equals 2.89 percent of households," Tuerk wrote on a blog nearly a week after the October 15 deadline passed. Google had said in August that it expected tens of thousands of tenants and owners to respond to its offer to blur out pictures of homes, which are taken using specially equipped vehicles deployed throughout the country.

Tuerk, writing on Google's European Public Policy blog, warned that the process was imperfect and that some homes might still be visible when the service launched in Germany later this year. "We've worked very hard to keep the numbers as low as possible but in any system like this there will be mistakes," he said. "In such cases the household can still ask us to blur the image using the 'report a problem' tool on Street View once imagery is published -- and we'll do it as fast as we can. "The same is true of faces and car licence plates that our automatic blurring technology may have missed," he added. Although Germans are avid users of Street View images from other countries, the planned roll-out here caused alarm in a country particularly sensitive to privacy concerns due to the gross abuses under the Nazi and communist regimes.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 22, 2010
China has launched an official online mapping service as US Internet giant Google continues to hold out on applying for a licence to provide a similar service in the country, state media said Friday.

The government-backed service Map World is free and allows users to search for two and three-dimensional images across the globe, the China Daily said.

"In the near future, Map World will grow to be a famous Chinese brand for online map services with proven reliability," Xu Deming, director of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, was quoted as saying.

The technology and website construction for www.tianditu.cn and www.chinaonmap.cn are still "at a preliminary stage", the report added

The service is expected to update its geological data twice a year, while Google Earth is able to update every couple of minutes, said Jiang Jie, another official at the surveying and mapping bureau.

Google's mapping service in China has been left in limbo after the government introduced new rules in May requiring all firms providing Internet map and location services in the country to apply for approval from the bureau.

The new rules require foreign firms wanting to provide mapping and surveying services in China to set up joint ventures or partnerships with local firms and keep servers on the mainland.

Last month, authorities granted licences to 31 companies including Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia.

Google has not yet applied for a licence, the report said, even though the surveying and mapping bureau has said it may set a deadline for applications and those who fail to do so by then could have their service shut down.

Marsha Wang, Google's spokeswoman in China, was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Google's share of the world's top online market has fallen since March, when it effectively shut down its Chinese search engine over what it said were China-based cyberattacks and state censorship.

It then re-routed mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

The web giant has since tweaked the way it re-routes users in order to gain the renewal of its business license in China, creating a new landing page with a link to the Hong Kong site, which users must click on themselves.

earlier related report
China launches official web mapping service ahead of Google
Beijing (AFP) Oct 22, 2010 - China has launched an official online mapping service as US Internet giant Google continues to hold out on applying for a licence to provide a similar service in the country, state media said Friday.

The government-backed service Map World is free and allows users to search for two and three-dimensional images across the globe, the China Daily said.

"In the near future, Map World will grow to be a famous Chinese brand for online map services with proven reliability," Xu Deming, director of the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, was quoted as saying.

The technology and website construction for www.tianditu.cn and www.chinaonmap.cn are still "at a preliminary stage", the report added

The service is expected to update its geological data twice a year, while Google Earth is able to update every couple of minutes, said Jiang Jie, another official at the surveying and mapping bureau.

Google's mapping service in China has been left in limbo after the government introduced new rules in May requiring all firms providing Internet map and location services in the country to apply for approval from the bureau.

The new rules require foreign firms wanting to provide mapping and surveying services in China to set up joint ventures or partnerships with local firms and keep servers on the mainland.

Last month, authorities granted licences to 31 companies including Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia.

Google has not yet applied for a licence, the report said, even though the surveying and mapping bureau has said it may set a deadline for applications and those who fail to do so by then could have their service shut down.

Marsha Wang, Google's spokeswoman in China, was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Google's share of the world's top online market has fallen since March, when it effectively shut down its Chinese search engine over what it said were China-based cyberattacks and state censorship.

It then re-routed mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

The web giant has since tweaked the way it re-routes users in order to gain the renewal of its business license in China, creating a new landing page with a link to the Hong Kong site, which users must click on themselves.



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TanDEM-X And TerraSAR-X Imaging Etna While Flying In Formation
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Oct 21, 2010
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