Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane - it's Google Earth?

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane - it's Google Earth? »Play Video
Oregon State Police said this image from Google Earth aided in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting in Roseburg.

EUGENE, Ore. - When it comes to fighting crime, police say Google Earth can be a good starting point.

"Probably, for 90 percent of our cases, we're using it to some degree or another," Sgt. Andy Kenyon with Oregon State Police said.

Last week, Google Earth helped the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team bust a medical marijuana garden with too many plants in southern Oregon.

"Google Earth makes it much easier to see what's actually there," Kenyon said, "other than just seeing a bunch of boxes and lines from the diagram."

Google Earth can be especially helpful for missing person and homicide cases.

Police use of Google Earth got people in Eugene talking on Tuesday.

"Well, there's a lot of invasions now with the Internet, so I guess it's just a way of lifestyle now," said Anna Peterson.

"Generally, I think there's far too much snooping going on," Lou Wenzl said.
 
Police say since all the information is available to the public, it's legal for them to use.

"I feel like yes, we do have rights to our privacy," Desean O'Roy said, "but, at the same time, when it's not protected by any means, people are going to use it no matter what - whether you are the police or just a regular person."

And that Google Earth can help solve crimes sounds like a better use of the Internet than just watching cat videos.

"Let's have some positive outcome," Carolyn Schiek said, "out of what is just something people play around with."