While you were using Google Earth to zoom in on your house, these archaeologists used it to find places to dig. And it paid off with 1977 potential archaeological sites, including 1082 ancient stone tombs.
Yes! Not only is Google Earth a terrific tool for answering the question "what does my house look like from directly above?", it's also useful for nerdy science stuff, like "finding valuable archaeological sites". David Kennedy, a professor at the University of Western Australia, scanned an area of almost 1295 square kilometres on the Arabian Peninsula in Google Earth, turning up 1977 potential sites, 1082 of which were ancient stone tombs known as "pendants". New Scientist writes:
Kennedy confirmed that the sites were vestiges of an ancient life - rather than vegetation or shadow - by asking a friend in Saudi Arabia, who is not an archaeologist, to drive out to two of the sites and photograph them.
By comparing the images with structures that Kennedy has seen in Jordan, he believes the sites may be up to 9000 years old, but ground verification is needed. "Just from Google Earth it's impossible to know whether we have found a Bedouin structure that was made 150 years ago, or 10,000 years ago," he says.
Well, seriously, Google, you need to get on that. Because, for the record, we fully support your ongoing project to eliminate the need to leave one's home, at all, ever, and if archaeologists still need to "verify" things, than what's the point?