Google Earth has allowed us to gain a satellite view or our house, find hidden treasure in faraway lands but one thing you wouldn’t expect the service to be used for is to locate backyard swimming pools that don’t have proper permits.
The WSJ reports that authorities in New York’s Long Island are using Google Earth to carefully research and find over 250 swimming pools which have do not have the proper permits, collecting in a total of over $75,000 in fines from offending residences.
The idea of regulators using Google Earth to punish swimming pool owners sounds a little far-fetched but it does have a serious role to play in the fact it helps inspectors to understand whether a pool has the required measures in place to make sure the pools’ plumbing, electrical work and surrounding fencing is up to standard.
The use of the satellite imaging tool also brings up the issue of privacy with some privacy advocates who are worried the tool has suddenly gone from being a fun tool for travellers to now be used as a way for government departments to bring in extra cash.
WSJ contacted Google to ask them whether it had any concerns about the tool being used for purposes such as this, it did not respond.