Google Maps Captures Lac-Megantic Devastation; Residents Call It ‘Disgusting'

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LAC MEGANTIC GOOGLE EARTH
This image of Lac-Megantic, Que., was taken from Google Maps' satellite image layer on June 25, 2014. | Google Earth

The devastation caused by last year’s oil train explosion in Lac-Megantic, Que., has been captured for posterity by Google, and some residents are outraged.

"The scene only looked like this for the two weeks following the accident," provincial MNA Ghislain Bolduc told QMI Agency, but the satellite image on Google Maps showing the scarred area remains to this day. He said using the image smacked of "sensationalism."

"It's disgusting and it makes no sense," Emilie Bedard of the local tourism bureau told the news agency.

As Yahoo News reports, Google will likely change the image eventually itself -- it typically updates images of an area once every three years or so.

Google Earth satellites typically snap shots of devastated areas to help in search and rescue efforts, and this sort of data has been used to study the effects of natural and other disasters. The company's ability to do things like this will probably be greatly expanded by its recent purchase of an unmanned drone company.

But Lac-Megantic’s tourism board would like to see the image go away, with officials pondering asking Google to remove the image.

"Yes, we had a horrible tragedy occur here, but we're trying to build something positive," tourism office agent Audrey Roussin told QMI.

Google reportedly did not respond to QMI’s inquiries on the issue.

The Lax-Megantic disaster took place almost a year ago -- July 6, 2013. Forty-seven people died when an oil train from Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway rolled into the city centre and derailed, causing a massive fireball.

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