Scientists from the University of Missouri and the University of New Mexico have been using Google Earth imagery to track an uncontacted tribe in Amazon rainforest in Brazil. While Google Earth adds a level of convenience for the researchers, tracking the tribe from afar can be essential to their survival. From Mongabay.com:
Small populations like these risk imminent extinction due to various threats. But contacting these tribes may prove even more disastrous. Diseases commonplace in our society, like the common cold, can wipe out large portions of such tribes in a matter of days. Therefore, using satellite images to regularly and remotely survey their populations, and track their movements could prove a good non-invasive way of keeping a close eye on the tribes and protecting them from afar.
The researchers have had difficulty finding the tribe in more recent satellite imagery, possible due to the tribe’s movement to escape drug traffickers in the area, but they continue their search to regain information about their current location.
Be sure to check out the full article on the Mongabay website.