A police scanner for the global village

Every secret headquarters, from the Batcave to 24’s CTU, has that map — you know, the ultra-detailed, wall-size one that pinpoints villains with blips of light and provides further information in a calm, computerized voice. We always dismissed it as Hollywood techno-fantasy — until we discovered the Global Incident Map. A self-described “Global Display of Terrorism and Other Suspicious Events,” the Website combines the staggering accuracy of Google Maps with constantly updated bulletins of more or less real-time news, ranging from ambushes in Baghdad to false alarms on airplanes in Oahu.

While the site might feed your paranoia, it’s also queasily gripping. With categories ranging from “Airport/Aviation Incidents” (e.g., shotgun shells found at Manchester airport) to “Biological Incidents/Threats/Anthrax Hoaxes etc.” (a possible hazmat contamination at the courthouse in La Plata, Maryland), the map gives you a quasi-omniscient snapshot of the post-9/11 planet.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. A police scanner for the global village