Usually when people enlist the assistance of Google Earth, it's to help them find their favourite bar/restaurant/dive - but the power behind this service proved invaluable to Saroo Brierley, after resorting to Google Earth to find his long-lost mother.
Apparently, the Indian man tracked the details of his mother after being separated from his family aged just five. Joining his older brother on a train journey back in 1986, he fell asleep only to wake up 14 hours later alone in the slums of Calcutta.
Sadly his brother's body was found on the railroad tracks only a few months after Brierly disappeared.
Living on the streets with hundreds of other homeless children, he was eventually taken in by an orphanage where he was adopted by a couple in Australia.
"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," he explained.
However, curiosity got the better of him and he began his search to trace his roots. Multiplying the 14 hours he spent on the train by the average train speeds in India, he drew a circle around Calcultta to the town of Khandwa based on the radius measured.
"When I found it, I zoomed down and bang, it just came up," he said. "I navigated it all the way from the waterfall where I used to play."
He visited the town in the hope of meeting his family, and despite them moving house he was able to track down the new location of his mother thanks to the help of passers-by. Although understandably dumbstruck to come face to face with her son, she eventually welcomed him with open arms.
Source: CNET (opens in new tab)