In order to build a pool in your backyard in the Long Island community of Riverhead, the homeowner must fill out paperwork to be submitted. Then their property must be inspected and pass the requirements for a backyard swimming pool. However, not everyone has been following the rules.
Town officials decided to use Google Earth to look around their community and its landscape. Along with trees, homes and coastlines, they also found at least 250 illegal pools in and around the Riverhead area.
Violators who did not follow the pool inspection rules will have to get permits for their pools, as well as paying a large fine. This is not the first time Google Earth has helped catch violations. In 2007, municipalities had began scanning images from the Google satellites to spot illegal home constructions and home additions that did not have proper permits.
On the other hand, a group of teens in Great Britain used Google Earth to their advantage. The group used the software to find neighborhood pools. They then went on to post the addresses on Facebook, and their designated swim times. Because of their “research”, huge mobs of uninvited swimmers came for a surprise swim and “parties” at various private pools.
Google Earth has been both helpful and troublesome in its history. It has helped find different illegal occurrences, such as finding marijuana fields in both Wisconsin and Switzerland, but also gives people the ability to find images of private homes. Hopefully in the future, Google Earth continues to do more good than harm, and continues to be another helpful tool for law enforcement.
Do you think more law enforcement officials will start using Google Earth more? How do you think Google Earth can be improved to provide added security?