The town of Riverhead, NY, located on Long Island, has recently started using Google Earth to track down backyard pools that don’t have the proper license.
So far they’ve found around 250 pools that hadn’t applied for the necessary license. When contacted and given the choice between paying the fee or facing heavy fines, most owners have paid the fee. So far the city has collected around $75,000 in fees.
There are two ways to look at a situation like this. The first is that it’s a great use of Google Earth; the other is that it feels like big brother is watching. Which side are you on?
This situation reminds me of a few other stories we’ve written about in the past. Nearly five years ago, Frank shared the story of a tax assessor using Google Earth to spot changes in house lots (new buildings, sheds, etc) and making sure the proper taxes were paid on them.
The other story is even closer to this one; a pool guy finding prospective customers by only sending his mailing to homes that have pools. It took quite a bit of work to develop the list (search in Google Earth, determine the address, build the list), but now he has an excellent list of targeted prospects for his business.
Have you heard of any other examples like this? Let us know!