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Iran Plans To Launch an 'Islamic Google Earth' 181

Shipwack sends this quote from the Guardian: "The Iranian authorities have long accused Google Earth of being a tool for western spy agencies, but now they have taken their attacks on the 3D mapping service one step further — by planning the launch of an 'Islamic' competitor. ... The minister, however, gave little information on what he meant by an Islamic 3D map. 'We are developing this service with the Islamic views we have in Iran and we will put a kind of information on our website that would take people of the world towards reality Our values in Iran are the values of God and this would be the difference between Basir and the Google Earth, which belongs to the ominous triangle of the U.S., England and the Zionists [a reference to Israel].' Experts, however, have serious doubts about the project. An IT consultant who has worked on Iran's national internet project in the past said the announcement was merely an excuse to obtain funds and secure working contracts for the future. 'They have claimed to run their service in four months and said their data centre capacity will reach Google's size in three years,' he said. 'Three-year project, no business model and only relying on government funding, a piece of cake indeed. To have a data centre with such capacity and security level they need power stations, cooler systems, bandwidth, etc, which will require billions of dollars of investment that doesn't fit with Iran's sanctions-hit economy.'"
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Iran Plans To Launch an 'Islamic Google Earth'

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  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:21PM (#43415661)

    They have long wanted to wipe Israel off the face of the map and this is how they will do it. Just make their own maps and pretend they don't exist. Now if only they would do support virtual terrorism instead of real terrorism.

    • Their plan for world domination was stalled fourteen centuries ago - by the French, of all people (mind you, even the French were different 14 centuries ago!) - so they want at least a tiny teeny virtual simulation of what it would be like.
      • by r1348 ( 2567295 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @06:56PM (#43417231)

        You are aware right, that Iranians are not Arabs?

      • I thought it was Alexander, 26 centuries ago.

    • by kdogg73 ( 771674 )
      +1 Brilliant.
    • I was going to go with something "flat earth" but this is much better. Well done.

    • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 )

      Now if only they would do support virtual terrorism instead of real terrorism.

      I rather hope they don't do that either. Did you see the next story? [slashdot.org]

    • That was honestly what I was thinking when I read the summary.

    • I figure they'll just replace North America with a picture of a camel.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      They have long wanted to wipe Israel off the face of the map and this is how they will do it.

      Please stop circulating this myth [wikipedia.org] and criticize Iran by its actual statements.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:21PM (#43415665)

    Someone up for a corn field portrait of a certain prophet?

  • by Burpmaster ( 598437 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:23PM (#43415695)
    So it'll be flat?
    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @06:42PM (#43417095)

      I think an Islamic 3D Earth is a great idea! The big difficulty in the plan will be convincing the Islamic folks to go live there . . .

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:26PM (#43415731)

    It will look something like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T_and_O_map [wikipedia.org]

    Only, it will probably be centered in Mecca.

  • It reads like it was written by an Onion "journalists" ...

    Although I will tell you it is scary when some says "Our values in Iran are the values of God" It is odd how the values of God always seem to take on the values of the subject adherent.

    • I tend to like that sort of statement. It allows me to quickly identify those who most likely do not share such values.
  • We have the Axis of Evil and they have the Ominous Triangle.

    Who can rock hardest?!!!
    Who can guitar solo the longest?!!!
    Who has the most gonzo drummer?!!!

    It is like Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey but everybody forgot to be excellent to each other!

  • Quickly! (Score:4, Funny)

    by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gma i l .com> on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:27PM (#43415745) Journal

    Time to draw some giant Mohammed cartoons in the desert, Nazca-style!

  • Is that like extremist "Christian" geography? (Or astronomy, for that matter?)
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Is that like extremist "Christian" geography? (Or astronomy, for that matter?)

      If you read the OP correctly, we are in the correct bottom.

      Which can be good or bad, depending on the context.

  • I'm pretty sure western spy agencies have access to much better tools than Google Earth. You probably could claim that Google Earth is a produce of tools for western spy agencies. That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with Google Earth.

    ... we will put a kind of information on our website that would take people of the world towards reality

    Wouldn't it be much simpler to just point out what part of Google Earth does not represent reality?

    • Actually, the system we used in Iraq recently made me WISH for a siprnet google earth.

  • I'm confused... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:38PM (#43415841) Journal

    Is this just a huckster trying to make a few bucks off nationalist suckers by offering to draw a map with a few contentious names and borders modified(the sort of thing that a script kiddie could do by hacking together a KML layer for google earth in about 10 minutes; but I digress...) or is there some sort of 'Islamic geography' that has serious issues with basic tenents of what we know about our dear home geoid?

    I'm honestly curious... It certainly isn't uncommon to have mere nationalist spats over mapping; but that's just standard political bluster.

    Religious convictions that are seriously opposed to empirically demonstrable facts about the world, though, tend to be fairly amusing and sometimes quirky. You've got your flat earthers, your YECs, your geocentericists(does the Tychonic system get any love anymore?), your 'baraminologists', faith healers of a zillion different flavors, people who are pretty sure that Jesus and/or the 'lost tribes of Israel' ended up in North America, you name it, we've got it...

    Is this just the tedious nationalism, or does folk islam have some weird bug up its ass about the-world-as-observed-from-orbit?

    • Re:I'm confused... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Rogue Haggis Landing ( 1230830 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @05:48PM (#43416587)

      ... is there some sort of 'Islamic geography' that has serious issues with basic tenents of what we know about our dear home geoid?

      Many years ago I knew a Lebanese Muslim cartographer, who worked with one of my relatives (a geographer), and I actually talked to him about this sort of thing. The short version is that most of the the modern world maps he worked with were exactly the same as Western maps, centered on the Greenwich meridian because of the conventional measure of longitude and so as to avoid splitting up big landmasses. The avowedly Muslim ones would be just the same, only centered on Mecca or, more often, on the point on the equator due south of Mecca.

      Centering the map on Mecca generally means cutting off Antarctica and the southern end of Argentina. Mecca is at about 21 N, so you can potentially get the north pole down to about 48 S (Tierra Del Fuego ends at about 56 S). The more normal practice of centering on the equator south of Mecca means that the edges of the map run through the eastern Pacific and cut Alaska off from the rest of the US, putting it and Hawaii at the far right of the map, while the Yukon stretches to the left edge of the map. That's not a huge difference from the standard Western map. It looks like it because of the distortions of the Mercator projection, but it's not generally a big deal. Centering the map on the Greenwich meridian is a convention; centering it on Mecca's meridian is a different one.

      (It's interesting to note that maps are centered on Greenwich simply because latitude is measured from there, and yet the Greenwich meridian is very close to being an ideal central spot if you're interested in avoiding splitting any landmasses. A map centered on a Hamburg or Tunis meridian would perfectly split the Bering Strait, but Greenwich is pretty good. The world's mapmakers got lucky with that one.)

      One would of course assume that an Iranian map would have some, shall we say, "provocative" interpretations of national boundaries and place names in the eastern Mediterranean.

      On a semi-related note, in the geography-related fields it's demographers who are most prone to the nationalist (etc) political difficulties and shenanigans. My relative's department had a demographer from somewhere in East Africa who in the 1980s had to leave his home country after making population estimates that showed the wrong tribe as having a very high population. It's a lot easier to insist on lies about population numbers than on lies about the contours of the planet Earth.

      • ...(It's interesting to note that maps are centered on Greenwich simply because latitude is measured from there...

        Dude --

  • America (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pallidrone ( 1423085 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:39PM (#43415859)
    I wonder if it will show a crudely drawn America with the caption - "Here be dragons".
  • So will Spain be replaced by the Caliphate of Córdoba?

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      It's called Al-Andalus, you insensitive clod.

    • There can be only one Caliphate and only one Caliph, seeing how the title is for the leader of all the faithful (they may disagree on who that should be, but each group would still only accept one).

      And Cordoba was an Emirate.

      • "Abd-ar-Rahman III (Abd al-Rahmn ibn Muhammad ibn Abd Allah) [wikipedia.org] was the Emir and Caliph of Córdoba (912–961) of the Ummayad dynasty in al-Andalus. Called al-Nasir li-Din Allah ("the Defender of God's Faith"), he ascended the throne in his early 20s, and reigned for half a century as the most powerful prince of Iberia. Although people of all creeds enjoyed tolerance and freedom of religion under his rule, he repelled the Fatimids, partly by supporting their Maghrawa enemies in North-Africa, and partl

  • by Beeftopia ( 1846720 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:51PM (#43416031)

    ... so that I could confirm with a trusted third party that when someone claims to be speaking for, or doing the will of God, that I can reliably confirm it instead of just having to take the original individual's word for it.

    Our values in Iran are the values of God

    • No, really, there were golden tablets! Given to me by an angel! You need a special magic stone to read them. The angel gave me one of those, too. Oh, well, I can't show them to you now, they, er, seem to have disappeared. I mean, only I can see them.
    • I think, the best course of action when someone is claiming to speak for God, would be to A) run far, far away, as fast as you can, and if possible B) have their loony asses committed.

      For the good of the species.

    • ... so that I could confirm with a trusted third party that when someone claims to be speaking for, or doing the will of God, that I can reliably confirm it instead of just having to take the original individual's word for it.

      Our values in Iran are the values of God

      What sacrilege is this?!

      God already created the most effective PKI verification system EVER. It's so simple and effective even a cave man could use it.

      If someone says something is according to God's will, is done in His name, or is speaking on behalf of God: They Are Lying!

  • It's two dimensional and has depictions of water falls on all sides.
  • by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:55PM (#43416077)
    They could replace street view with Terrorist View, showing all the best places for terrorist bombings.

    Yes, I know not all people from that part of the world are terrorists. But that is a lot less funny.
  • I think it is great to have more countries get off their collective asses and start publishing competing geospatial datasets and stop smooching off the devil/great satan/colonial empire..ad nauseum.

    The problem is if your an Iranian citizen you are likely to be better off with the spookes behind google earth vs mullaearth from the perspective of local oppression especially if "competition" really means we're also going to block google earth so you have no choice.

  • by booch ( 4157 ) <slashdot2010@cra ... m ['ek.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @05:25PM (#43416413) Homepage

    So they're going to be bigger than Google's data center in 3 years? That's interesting, because nobody really knows how big Google's data centers are. I'd be willing to bet that most of the server admins at Google have no idea how many servers they have. The current estimates are approaching 2 million servers though. I have a very hard time believing that Iran is going to be able to build 2 million servers and the required infrastructure to run 2 million servers in the next 3 years.

    I'm also curious why they'd need that many servers to run a mapping service. Their service would pretty much be guaranteed to have fewer users than Google, and provide only a fraction of the services that Google does. So I guess they're admitting that they don't really know anything about utilizing servers effectively. Or perhaps we should assume the more likely scenario -- that they're completely making all of this up.

  • by lamber45 ( 658956 ) <lamber45@msu.edu> on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @06:23PM (#43416921) Homepage Journal
    Right now, GMail, YouTube and Maps are all mixed together (not necessarily 100%, probably possible to do IP filtering, but Google may be moving away from that) ... take maps away and it's easier to block the other two.
  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @07:24PM (#43417415) Journal

    "What's very important from my point of view is that there is one web. . . . Anyone that tries to chop it into two will find that their piece looks very boring."
      -- Sir Tim Berners-Lee, "US backing for two-tier internet" in BBC News (7 September 2007)

  • I wonder if their Photoshop skills are up to the task. And what about their satellite? Will they just have a camera in a dark room occasionally use the flash take a picture of a spinning globe? Because that would be awesome. I suppose occasionally, you will be able to see the hand of God reaching out to give the globe a spin.
  • What will it look like? A little like the famous View From New York [wordpress.com], but with a few substitutions e.g. Tehran in the foreground, Mashhad in place of Chicago, Mecca instead of Las Vegas, and Jerusalem standing in for Los Angeles.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 )

    Kill the fucking Jews


    Rape your daughter then kill her.

  • I read an article a long time ago on how some Internet tools were changing things, but not the tools that you'd think. It was about Tripod and Google Earth [ethanzuckerman.com]. Tripod was taken over as the tool of the Underground. Google Earth had people in Arab countries (yeah, I know Iran's not Arabic, just read the article) question how their land policies favored the very few connected and screwed everyone else. One of the countries explicitly mentioned? Tunisia. I thought about that a lot during the Arab Spring.

    So, even G

    • They (the Ayatollahs) don't want regular Iranians to see how they are living behind closed off walls. That's the real lesson from Google Earth and the Arab spring. They'll probably replace all their weapons factories and Revolutionary Guard bases with baby milk factories, kindergartens, and hospitals for good measure too.
  • The Ayatollah Khomeini has dictated that our Islamic 3d map will be holy and use a 9 bit architecture!

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie