Google Earth has been one of the most useful services of its kind. It has been extensively used by individuals as well as organizations. Now, it has been reported that an Indian man, who got lost in the childhood 25 years ago was able to rediscover his home-town with the help of Google Earth and got to meet his mother.
Saroo Brierly was traveling in a train with his brother back in 1986. During the journey, he fell asleep and woke up some 14 hours later in Calcutta. He had lost his brother and didn’t know how to get back home. He stayed in Calcutta slums, resorting to begging and other measures to survive.
Eventually, however, Brierly got lucky and was taken in an orphanage where he was then adopted by an Australian couple. At first, it was great for him as he says, ‘”I accepted that I was lost and that I could not find my way back home, so I thought it was great that I was going to Australia.’
Over the years, as Brierly matured, he had this wish of finding out where he had been from and to know about his home town. He did remember the incident of his getting lost on the train. He then gauged through the number of hours he slept, 14, and the average speed of Indian trains to find the region where his home town could have been. It was a certain area around Calcutta.
Then when he viewed the maps on Google Earth in detail, he was able to discern that his home town was actually Khandwa. He says, ‘When I found it, I zoomed down and bang, it just came up. I navigated it all the way from the waterfall where I used to play.’ He was very joyous and made a trip to his home town and was able to locate his family house.
But his family had moved. By asking the neighbors, Brierly was able to find out where his mother lived, ‘She had a bit of trouble grasping that her son, after 25 years, had just reappeared like a ghost.’ Nonetheless, it was very fortunate for him that he was able to use Google Earth in such an intelligent manner to find out about his long-lost family.