New Google Earth images let you view China’s island-building for yourself
China’s massive island-building projects in the Spratly Islands have been well documented. The Philippine government has occasionally released images revealing the extent of the reclamation; the US government recently made public a video showing one of their surveillance planes flying near one the newly built islands, while news organizations like the BBC have made trips to the islands to document Chinese dredging activities in the region.
But apart from these releases, we’re not really able to figure out the true extent of the new islands. As things are, China has already reclaimed or dredged up more land in the past year than all of the countries combined since, basically, ever.
Thanks to Google Earth, you can now explore the West Philippine Sea for yourself. Google Earth Blog, which covers everything Google Earth related, revealed that the latest satellite images now include China’s island-building activities.
From the Google Earth Blog:
A couple of months ago there was a story about China building an Airport and other military installations in the Spratly Islands. However, at the time, the relevant satellite imagery was not available in Google Earth. In April, [Google added imagery for most of the Spratly islands, but not the most interesting one – Fiery Cross Reef. However, Google did add it during May, so now we can have a look at it.
Google Earth Blog has also compiled images for Hughes Reef, Gaven Reef, Cuarteron Reef, Mischief Reef, and Subi Reef. See more of the images here, or download the coordinates for these locations here.