Interesting article about a bunch of ProAms in today’s Sunday Times, "Amateurs use Google Earth to uncover Kim’s sinister secrets" by Michael Sheridan.
Curtis Melvin, an enthusiastic amateur has used Google Earth to analyse the same site where the North Koreans detonated a nuclear device.
"Melvin’s satellite map of the country, collated from Google Earth, reveals palaces, labour camps, mass graves and the entrance to the subterranean test base in the remote northeast of the country.
He started collecting images of the world’s most isolated country for the drier purpose of analysing the economy.
Soon he realised that the regime could seal its borders but not the skies overhead."
This illustrates not just the frightening power of Google Earth, but that an amateur can use commonly available technology to observe and analyse one of the most secretive nations in the world.
It doesn't stop there, other ProAms collaborated with Melvin to create what must be the mother of all Google Mash Ups.
"Other enthusiasts, including some who had served in the US military in Korea, quickly began adding data, cross-checking facts and labelling locations.
The result is a portrait of a hidden country. It is so rich in raw intelligence that even the collators may not be aware of just how many state secrets are on their website."
This is a fascinating example of how organised collaboration by ProAms can produce results beyond the achievements of an ad hoc corporation/country using widely available & free tools!