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Here's What That Mysterious Compound Found By Google Earth in China's Desert Might Actually Be

(Image: Wired/Allen Thomson)

Last week, TheBlaze showed off a new set of mysterious buildings in China's desert found using Google Earth that even an ex-CIA analyst couldn't identify. Shortly afterward another tech expert came out with what he thinks is the answer.

(Image: Wired/Allen Thomson)

LiveScience reported technologist and geospacial blogger Stefan Geens saying the satellite images do not show a secret military compound, as many might believe. On the contrary, Geens, who spent months in this area of the Xinjiang province, said it is an "economic zone."

Here's more from LiveScience regarding the buildings at 39.6 N, 76.1 E near the city of Kashgar:

China announced its plans to build a special economic zone in Kashgar a few years ago, and has taken on a number of projects — from creating high-speed rail lines to the razing of the ancient Islamic buildings in the heart of the city — in order to achieve that goal, Geens said.

In fact, the region in question is located next to the rail lines and the airports, making it even more likely that the structures are industrial factories, Geens said.

In addition, some of the roads are partially covered in sand, and construction-related vehicles can be seen in some of the satellite images, suggesting the area is still being built, Hamilton said.

LiveScience also reported the interesting phenomenon of "armchair analysts" that Google Earth has spurred. GIS program director at the College of William and Mary said analysts look for infrastructure like rail, roads, power lines, building footprint and more to understand what might be going on.

Geens told LiveScience though that the amount of data on Google Earth can sometimes "[go] to people's heads."

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