This video from NOVA is an amazing display of the surveillance capabilities we have at our disposal.
ARGUS-IS Stands for Automated Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System.
Like a "Persistent Stare," ARGUS provides continuous monitoring and tracking over a entire city, but also it has the ability to simply click on an area (or multilple areas--up to 65 at a time) to zoom in and see cars, people, and even in detail what individuals are wearing or see them even waving their arms!
Created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ARGUS uses 368 imaging chips and provides a streaming video of 1.8 gigapixels (that is 1.8 billion pixels) of resolution and attaches to the belly of a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone.
ARGUS captures 1 million terabytes of a data a day, which is 5,000 hours of high-definition footage that can be stored and returned to as needed for searching events or people.
The Atlantic (1 February 2013) points out how using this over an American city could on one hand, be an amazing law enforcement tool for catching criminals, but on the other hand raise serious privacy concerns like when used by government to collect data on individuals or by corporations to market and sell to consumers.
What is amazing to me is not just the bird's eye view that this technology provides from the skies above, but that like little ants, we are all part of the mosaic of life on Earth. We all play a part in the theater of the loving, the funny, the witty, and sometimes the insane.
My Oma used to say in German that G-d see everything, but now people are seeing virtually everything...our actions for good or for shame are visible, archived, and searchable. ;-)