I’m in the process of putting together a session on using Google Maps and Google Earth in the classroom for our school-based trainers.
But here’s an application for those technologies that I never considered: survival in a war zone.
Google is playing an unlikely role in the Iraq war. Its online satellite map of the world, Google Earth, is being used to help people survive sectarian violence in Baghdad.
As the communal bloodshed has worsened, some Iraqis have set up advice websites to help others avoid the death squads.
One tip – on the Iraq League site, one of the best known – is for people to draw up maps of their local area using Google Earth’s detailed imagery of Baghdad so they can work out escape routes and routes to block.
It’s another example of the central role technology plays in the conflict – with the widespread use of mobile phones, satellite television as well as the internet – by all sides and for many purposes.
Beyond the use of Google mapping technologies, the story illustrates just how connected to the 21st century people really are in Iraq.
And that’s just one more thing most people in this country don’t understand about that side of the world.