Google Earth and Emergency Aid

According to an entry on, Google Earth just played a role in helping to target air drops of relief supplies in Gujarat, which was hit with serious flooding. The entry cites an Ahmedabad newspaper:

If [officials] could have struck upon this idea before, it would have helped many more people as carpet air-dropping of aid leads to lots of wastage. Using this tool, it was easy to identify buildings and other landmarks.

Sometimes people complain that Web 2.0 is just a consumer internet thing. But stories like this remind us that the increased intelligence available to ordinary people can have worldchanging consequences. In this particular case, it was two ordinary people who persuaded the air force to use Google Earth to better target their aid and rescue efforts.