Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in New Orleans, Louisiana, causing over $80 billion in damage and killing nearly 2,000 people. Google Earth Blog offered a great deal of coverage to the event, as Google was able to contribute a variety of imagery updates and other resources to help. I had just started running Google Earth Hacks at that time, and users submitted quite a few KML files related to the hurricane.
Despite only being on the market as “Google Earth” for a few months (it was previously available as “Keyhole”, though it was far less popular) many people, such as this couple, were able to use Google’s oft-updated imagery of the area to see the condition of their home.
In early 2007, after having posted post-Katrina imagery in Google Earth, they reverted the default layer to pre-Katrina imagery. While this was only done to insure the highest quality imagery, Google caught a lot of flack for this and resolved it a few days later.
Late last week, Google posted a short entry that recognized the anniversary of Katrina. As they mention in the article, Google Earth’s historical imagery tool is a great way to look back and see how the city changed from pre-Katrina, after the storm hit, and how it looks today.