Here's a pair of low-altitude aerial shots showing the contrast between "resort" and "local" islands in the Maldives. The first image shows the island of Mahibadhoo, the capital of Alif Dhaal atoll, and home to around 1,860 people. The buildings cover most of the island, a development pattern typical of islands that are home to local residents of the Maldives.
In contrast, this view of Vaadhoo Island, home of the Vadoo Resort, shows development patterns more typical of the resort islands in the Maldives. Note the string of offshore bungalows, and the beachfront structure located at the right-hand tip of the island. Also, note the difference in structure of the sandbar on the left (north) side of the island between the photograph and the Google Earth screenshot. The Maldives were hit fairly hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and it's likely that the waves, which approached from the east (at the top of this photo) pushed the sandbar westward toward the bottom of the photo.
Photos taken: March 13, 2007
Photos by: The Gerbil