Having spent a considerable amount of time in Tbilisi, Georgia selling the state electricity assets to AES back in the late 1990s while I worked for Merrill Lynch’s EMEA team, I am curious and interested in all things Caucasus.
The recent post on Google’s blog caught my attention.”The recent conflict in Georgia has raised some questions about how Google Maps has handled mapping in that part of the world. The most obvious question is, why doesn’t Google Maps show any cities or roads for Georgia, or its neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan?”
Google’s blog suggested its due to lack of quality data and a useful experience can be found in Google Earth. Having traversed the roads in Georgia between Tbilisi, Gori, Rustavi and Kutaisi, not a surprise. Even if its 2008 and large amounts of money are being poured into Georgia, Green Berets are on the ground as the forward team to help out w/ military consulting and loads of World Bank and USAID folks are running around providing technical assistance, etc., infrastructure is not one of the selling points in this beautiful ancient land.
It does raise an interesting question that Google will surely deal with in the future. As Google Earth and Maps become more robust, up to date and “real time”, national security and military sensitivity may require Google to remove parts of their experience for period of time. How Google deals with these issues will be interesting. Not easy!