There was an explosion at a French nuclear plant this morning that took the life of one worker and injured a few others. Fortunately, no leak has been reported and things seem to be under control.
I went to view the site in Google Earth (found via this KML file), but the view of the area is obscured in Google Earth.
However, a quick click of the historical imagery button reveals the full plant in high resolution, dated back to 2002.
The plant first went operational in 1956, and while things may have changed slightly in the last 9 years, the aerial imagery from 2002 seems to closely resemble the shots being shown on sites like Yahoo news.
So what’s the purpose of blurring the imagery if it’s that easy to obtain clear shots? Here are a few thoughts/ideas:
1 — Google itself doesn’t blur imagery; only their providers do. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that Google would ever go back and blur historical imagery if it was provided to them in an un-blurred state at some point. Another potential complication is that the most recent imagery was provided by GeoEye, while the older (clear) imagery was provided by DigitalGlobe.
2 — Perhaps some construction at the site has been under way and things are different now than they were in 2002, or perhaps they are simply blurring the plant going forward to hide any changes that take place in the future.
3 — The imagery in Bing Maps is only slightly blurred; it’s still easy to see where the various buildings are located, though Bing doesn’t provide a precise date on their imagery.
Any other thoughts? Is obscuring imagery becoming futile with so many imagery and mapping providers out there now?