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Pakistan: Google Earth Dynamic Overlay – Made Public

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Ideas

Anne Wright and Randy Sargent of the Global Connections Project [1] have been working hard to get out dynamic overlays of the affected quake areas in Pakistan. (A dynamic overlay is one that automatically substitutes higher resolution imagery as you zoom in and so is much easier to work with.) Randy and Anne wrote a couple of hours ago to say that the new dynamic overlays are ready:

A Pakistan dynamic overlay containing 1-meter imagery and maps for

* Muzaffarabad
* Abbottabad
* Mansehra
* Murree

is available at http://jaga.gc.cs.cmu.edu/rapid/pakistan/ [2].

Contents: 10 maps from DLR / Space Imaging, available from http://www.zki.caf.dlr.de/ [2].

Here are a couple of screen shots:
VBR - Home of Piffers

Home of the Piffers? (KML file [3]) Anne and Randy came across this while processing the satellite images. Anne wondered:

Do you supposed all cultures have analogs of high school glee clubs, or is this something else?

We asked around and are informed of this fascinating fact:

Army units in that part of the world “have a fondness for writing on hill-sides”!

(“Piffers” is short for the Punjab Irregular Force, regularized in 1865. What it signifies in 2005, we can't tell you.) Wow. So, as you look at the overlays, watch for secret hillside writing. Another correspondent tells of a hillside drawing:

There is a large engraving of Sir Lord somebody slaying a dragon “hidden” off the road to Muzaffrabad. I think I still remember how to get to it. Every local ten year old thinks that he is the only one who knows about it.

Here are a few move screen shots:

Manshera Helipad (KML file [4])

VBR - Manshera Helipad [5]

Ayub Teaching Hospital (KML file [6]):

VBR - Ayub Teaching Hospital [7]

On a more somber note, here is a legend from a damage map of Balakot from the Eurpopean Commission's Joint Research Centre (do not follow this link unless your computer will handle an image 9000 pixels by 7000 pixels!) that you may find useful in estimating damage via these overlays [the link from the image leads to a bigger version, though not huge, so it's OK to click on]:

Balakot Legend [8]

Thanks to Kathryn Cramer [9] for the above blog posting as well as for hosting the images and kml/kmz files. Kathryn is also one of the many people behind the Pakistan quake relief mapping efforts and has marked up many disaster-specific maps of the South Asia Quake. If you're interested, you may check out more Google Earth [10] overlays and maps of the Pakistan quake at Kathryn's blog [11].