August 14, 2006

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China's Area 51

From the Sydney Morning Herald (free reg. req'd), a report of strange goings-on in Ningxia. It's also a great demonstration of Google Earth and other public satellite picture systems. An excerpt:

On the internet, a little mystery can go a long way. Six weeks ago, a man living in Germany and calling himself KenGrok, announced a fascinating discovery on a Google Earth Community forum.

Poring over satellite images of China on the free Google Earth service, he came across a strange plot of land - approximately 900 metres by 700 metres, about the size of six Sydney Cricket Grounds.

The land, which KenGrok said was landscape that had been modelled for military purposes, is situated near the town of Huangyangtan about 35 kilometres from Yinchuan, the capital of the autonomous region of Ningxia, in northern China. Nearby, there is a substantial facility complete with rows of red-roofed buildings, scores of what look to be military trucks and a large compound with elevated lookout posts and a large communications tower. The land was contoured in a way that was out of sync with the surrounding countryside. It appeared to be a mountainous region, complete with snow-capped peaks and glacial valleys dotted with numerous lakes.

Yet this piece of land was slap bang in the middle of a largely arid area due west of the rich alluvial plains bordering the upper reaches of the Yellow River.

A fellow Google Earth enthusiast suggested that the topography indicated that this was probably a model of land on one of China's frontiers. KenGrok went looking and two weeks later came back with the answer. The swatch was a scale model of 157,500 square kilometres of territory in and around China's Aksai Chin border region that abuts India and Pakistan.

The scale is exactly 500:1...

Thanks to J. for the pointer.

posted by Simon on 08.14.06 at 01:13 PM in the China military category.


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you are probably a few weeks late:)

there are many interesting locations. e.g.

posted by: sun bin on 08.14.06 at 01:35 PM [permalink]

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