Imagine how useful it would be to have your own spy satellite.

You could confirm your suspicions that the neighbours were running a terrorist training camp in their back garden and had indeed stolen your lawn mower.

If you can't afford your own satellite, but still need up-to-date low level aerial photography, is the place to go.

This new mapping service from Google allows you to search for businesses by location. If you type in " Pizza Birmingham UK" it will highlights all the local pizza joints on a map of Birmingham.

You can search for just about anything. I searched for my nearest nuclear bunker and found there is one in Tipton and another in Kings Heath!

If you press the " satellite" button, the maps are replaced with satellite images of the same locations.

This has alarmed security services around the world, as bored office workers, terrorists and rogue military juntas alike can now gain valuable imagery of sensitive locations.

North Korea has already complained to the US Government that its nuclear research facility at Yongbyon is now on full view.

Democracy is also threatened, as detailed pictures of the White House are available for scrutiny, along with US missile silos and other military installations.

The world's most famous top secret base that doesn't exist, Area 51, is also in plain view, although there are no signs of anti-gravity powered space ships or alien burial grounds.

Microsoft's rival site, has been more patriotic in this respect. Area 51 and other secret parts of the US are greyed out. Ironically, this will provide any foreign power planning a preemptive nuclear strike with a ready-made target list - if it's blanked out, it must be worth bombing, right?

Perhaps Microsoft know this, as they have blanked out Apple's headquarters in Silicon Valley too - wishful thinking Bill.

However, Google Maps has other non-military applications. One observant user has spotted an image of our lord Jesus Christ, etched into a Peruvian sand dune. Erich von Doniken has confirmed that the image was hewn from the sand by an ancient civilisation using hot air balloons and alien laser technology.

The remains of lost Roman villa Luca Mori have recently been found outside Parmaby using the system, and has renewed hope that we may one day locate the ancient city of Atlantis. Both Google and Microsoft realise that a large part of the internet's future will revolve around what is know as geospatial search. Google has kindly created a programmatic interface to their mapping service, so that other websites can integrate with its mapping and satellite data.

We could soon be using the web to find the cheapest petrol station in our area, or the nearest Indian restaurant still open when we leave the pub.

* Chris is managing director of internet consultancy WebXpress. This and other unedited articles can be found at