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TerraFly offers satellite photo database.

TerraFly, an online program that for the last eight years has made it possible to navigate the world through the use of satellite images, has extended its reach to Cuba.

The website at www.terrafly.com--now the world's biggest publicly accessible geographic database, with more than 10,000 visitors a day--is giving Cuban exiles a way to stake claims to their lost homes.

So far, says the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the database has photographs of 1,000 buildings taken with GPS cameras that mark the coordinates where the pictures were taken.

"Our goal is to photograph every building in Havana," said Naphtali David Rishe, director of the NASA Regional Applications Center at Florida International University in Miami and head of the TerraFly project.

As an added feature for some Cuban exiles, if users surfing the TerraFly site sees a building that used to belong to them, they can click on a link to register their claim. The link will take them to an affidavit that must be filled out, notarized and sent to the NASA Regional Applications Center, where it'll be filed away.

"We will eventually deliver it to a democratically elected Cuban government," Rishe said.

He told the paper that the affidavits might hold some weight in international court disputes involving property the Cuban government seized, as has been the case with Holocaust victims whose property was confiscated by the Nazis.

But Pedro Freyre, a Cuban-American lawyer and activist in Miami, said the claims link comes at a bad time.

"From a purely pragmatic point of view and a timing view, I think this is not the time to be focusing on potential claims," he told the newspaper. "You're giving fuel to the fire of Cuban governmental propaganda.
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Publication:CubaNews
Date:Aug 1, 2007
Words:289
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