As remote sensing technologies become both more accurate and detailed, as well as more frequently collected and posted in public view, when will the geospatial world start to experience significant push back from civil rights groups? Just last week an image of a boy’s murder scene in California was brought to the attention of the boy’s parents causing them severe mental anguish.
The image was an aircraft-based, natural-color image taken from a low-altitude aircraft from 4 years ago, and Google has agreed to replace it as soon as possible. But, the idea that a mapping image has entered this family’s private life makes one wonder how many more situations like this will occur as the image resolution from spaceborne platforms, that can update regularly and goes beyond the 50 centimeter level, and image updates begin jumping to monthly and even daily intervals. Street view gives a good preview into the world of high resolution monitoring because the images are collected at street level so we can actually see, in detail, what is taking place.
The intent of remote sensing, and even street view, has never been to capture people and their activities, it is just an unfortunate byproduct of remotely-sensed map data. So, with the advent of even higher res remote sensing, captured to improve our understanding of the world, who knows what will actually be shown.