What a poorly written lead by the BBC. It should say something like “Pentagon Bans Google Street View from Military Bases.” Saying “Google map-makers” are banned implies that people who use the service of Google Maps are also banned. But that is not the case; I can zoom into many military bases, but what I cannot do, and the point of the story, is to use the Street View feature within a military base.
Of course they shouldn’t be making a Streetview dataset of any military bases in the first place. Call this a very stupid mistake on behalf of Google. How is this helpful? Knowing where the F-14’s are housed is not information that can be used by the general public. Just like I don’t need to know how DC’s steam pipe network is laid out (a dataset that is withheld from the public last time I checked). Basically, its one thing to do Street View on public streets in innocuous cities, but its an entirely different story when they map out the inside of a military base.
I’ve had quite a few military personnel visit my Street View Improvised Explosive Device animation since I put it on-line last year in June (it was created about a week after Street View was released to the public). I would like to believe that the military is aware of how people can exploit Street View, but nearly 9 months later it doesn’t look like some of the military brass has taken any warnings seriously.
Also, I truly wonder if and when Google will release Street View for Washington, DC. With Google and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency already censoring downtown DC, I doubt that they would release DC’s Streetview imagery without some significant modifications (aka redactions). However, if Google does release DC Street View I already know exactly where I plan on making the next digital IED…. [you will just have to wait & see]