FL Deputy Uses Google Earth Tools to Spot Illegal Dumping

By Kamika Dunlap on March 31, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tracking down people responsible for illegal dumping can be a challenging task. But the job of a Florida panhandle deputy became a little bit easier when he decided to get some help from Google Earth tools.

Deputy Gregory Barnes realized he could use Google Earth tools to help him find the owner of an illegally dumped boat, according to the Associated Press.

Google Earth is a type of virtual globe and map with geographic information. The program obtains images from satellites, aerial photography and displays them on a 3D globe.

Barnes had previously discovered a one ton boat that had been left in an undeveloped area 15 miles north of Pensacola, but its vehicle identification number and registration had been removed.

Using archived satellite and aerial images on Google Earth, Barnes found an image of the vessel previously being stored near Dwight Everett Foster's home. This led to Foster's arrest for littering more than 500 pounds of waste.

When questioned about the boat, Foster, 57, admitted that he and his son discarded the boat, saying that it was "stupid" and he shouldn't have done it.

His son later removed the abandoned boat and took it to a landfill. It cost about $18 to dispose of the boat, according to the sheriff's report.

Now, Foster faces charges of illegal dumping. In addition, he faces a $5,000 fine and a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail.

He was released from jail on his own recognizance.

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