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9/2/2005
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Web Publishers Post High-Res Satellite Images Of Katrina Devastation

The Associated Press, New York Times and Google posted images of the disaster scene, available to the public.

Thanks to the Internet, millions are able to access never-before-seen perspectives of a major U.S. disaster as sites post satellite images of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the Great New Orleans Flood.

On Friday, for instance, the Associated Press posted a detailed satellite image of New Orleans that can be panned and zoomed to show individual vehicles and the boundaries between flooded and dry sections of the city. According to the AP, the image resolution is 2.4 meters per pixel, and was taken Wednesday, August 31.

The provider of that image, Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe, has also posted 10 additional satellite shots, six of New Orleans and four of the hard-hit Biloxi, Miss.

Some media outlets, including the New York Times, have crafted interactive graphics that blend satellite images with Flash-built content, or provide "before" and "after" shots of the affected areas.

Google Earth, the search giant's satellite image application, also got on the Katrina job by posting more than a dozen overlays -- recent satellite snaps of the Mississippi coast -- that can be laid atop existing views in the program. Because Google Earth lets users zoom and tilt the scenery, it's possible to get a near-ground-view look at some of the devastation.

And while they're not satellite shots, over a thousand lower-level images have been taken by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aircraft over the past several days. NOAA's jets, flying at 7,500 feet, had taken 1,450 as of Thursday. These images, which aren't indexed but simply grouped by location, can be viewed from the agency's Web site.

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