Re-using CIA photos for research

The world is awash in data…. a lot of it can be re-used for other purposes. (Anecdote: Much of the early data on sea temperatures comes from the British Navy, whose ships routinely measured  a bucket of seawater every morning. Not exactly precise data, and using it requires estimates of things like how long the bucket sat on deck before being measured, and the accuracy of thermometers in the British Navy in 1800.)

The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. They seek insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests.


The trove of images is “really useful,” said Norbert Untersteiner, a professor at the University of Washington who specializes in polar ice and is a member of the team of spies and scientists behind the effort.

via C.I.A. Revives Data-Sharing Program With Environmental Scientists –

Query: What is Google doing to archive its maps and satellite imagery? I can’t imagine they get thrown away, but keeping full resolution versions of everything would be expensive.

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