Posted by: bklunk | May 1, 2007

Birds-Eye View

It’s interesting to see that Google Earth can be used for something other than scoping out your neighborhood.

Tuesday Map: Mapping genocide with Google Earth | FP Passport

Google has teamed up with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to map out the atrocities occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan, where conflict has been raging since 2003 when Janjaweed rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government. As of today, the 200,000 users of Google Earth (which can be downloaded for free) can navigate to Africa, zoom in, and see the “Crisis in Darfur” initiative, which indicates areas that have been ravaged, refugee camps, destroyed villiages, and much more. Users can also gather data and other information from the map. Crisis in Darfur is the first project of a long-term collaboration between Google and the museum to map out areas of genocide. Next in the works is a mapping project of the Holocaust.

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  1. I think that this is a very important development and that, if it gets enough publicity, will really open people’s eyes to the atrocities that continue to occur around the world. So many people, if they even hear about tragedies like Darfur, don’t ever take the time to really understand the issue because it’s not personal to them, being thousands of miles away. Because of that, I think that the new program Google Earth’s offering will allow these issues to hit people closer to home. To be able to see not only a map of Sudan and be able to find Darfur, but to see exactly where there are destroyed villages and refugee camps will make the situation real for people. I think it would be interesting to note how much aid has been given to the situation and then how that number changes if people start to use this program.

  2. I too believe that this enhanced usage of technology helps bring the message home for many individuals. By understanding issues through visual aids, people around the global can examine the damage done through their own eyes. Unfortunately, however, although users can zoom in on icons that represent destroyed villages with flames and refugee camps with tents according to Google, only a limited amount of snapshots of what really exists are available to those who view the damage online. Google has enhanced the resolution for certain areas of the region so that users can zoom in to see the burnt remnants of houses.

    In addition to the Darfur images, google has placed icons and links that present users with information on the tragedy of the Holocaust and the crisis of that region as well. Through photos, video, historical background, and testimony on atrocities, viewers can learn about that event too. Overall I believe that these tools of technology that help individuals understand events present and past, is a wonderful tool to utilize for the 21st century. Soon our children will be able to learn about historical events not through just reading about them, but by visualizing them with important detail.

  3. The fact that Google has decided to publish photos of the horrible things that are occuring in the Sudan is a great thing. Many people have some degree of awareness when it comes to the issue, yet many are still in the dark. People need to be able to see what is actually happening rather than just hearing it from a newscast. I think that Google is doing a great thing by helping to spread awareness of this horrible tragedy that is occuring right now. The first key to solving any problem is spreading information. So thanks Google!

  4. I agree that this new tool that Google has implemented is a very positive learning tool. I think that it is great that instead of using Google Earth to view something such as the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty that this can really be used as an educational tool.

    Hopefully this new feature will spread a new level of awareness about this issue. I have reservations on the amount of help this will actually bring the people of Darfur. There are currently resources on the internet where people can learn about Darfur, and this issue has been on the news and in the media. There are pictures of what really happens in Darfur, available on the internet and it is really up to the internet user whether or not they read this information. This is no different than Google Earth. Hopefully people will do more than just look at the images and read the snippets of information about what it is taking place. Google Earth has made a great step in helping this issue, now it is up to the user of this technology whether or not they want to be involved beyond looking at images of the atrocities.

  5. I think that it’s a great idea for Google Earth to be raising awareness about Darfur. There aren’t enough people, especially in America, that pay attention to the devastation there. More companies that have the power to reach millions of people should focus their attention on bringing awareness to devastating occurances like Darfur. If more people could understand the destruction and horror of Darfur maybe our government would do something to help the people of Darfur. Americans, and people all over the world need to show that they care about what happens to the people of Darfur, and they need to voice their opinions to their government so something can be done about the situation. It is only with more awareness that anything will get accomplished. Google Earth should be thanked for this great step that millions will see and hopefully because of Google Earth’s use of technology more people will join the cause to fight genocide in Darfur.

  6. How many more killings, rapes, and destroyed lives in Darfur will it take before the international community acts to stop it? Thanks to Google and the Holocaust Museum, something significant is being done to draw public attention to Darfur. It seems that very few people are aware of the magnitude of the conflicts in Sudan. Thousands of websites have been created to spread the word, but those are only visited by people seeking the information themselves. But what about those individuals who have no idea that since 2003, Darfur has been embroiled in a deadly conflict where several hundred thousand people have been killed or seriously injured?! More than two million people have been displaced and live in displaced-persons camps in Sudan or in refugee camps in Chad; more than 3.5 million people are reliant on international aid for survival; but this information is not being presented to the public! Hopefully, this new outreach from GoogleEarth will help bring more awareness about the Sudan. It is quite evident that this is a major issue, since the Holocaust Museum put the map of areas of genocide in Darfur BEFORE a mapping project of the Holocaust. That is truly saying something!

  7. I too agree that it is a good idea, and a very bold and significant step for Google Earth and the Holocaust Museum to team up to promote and support the the awareness of Darfur the the American people. Despite the fact that the problems in Darfur cannot be solved in one simple meeting or information posting, this is a very important step. American people need to be made aware of the problems in any way possible. It is true that we have newspapers, magazines, television, and even articles online, but I think that Google is taking it one step further to making sure that their voice is heard and that people are getting the information. As sad as it is, I think that people do not know the magnitude of the problems in Darfur, and maybe even turn the other way when news comes up about the subject, but Google is doing what they can to hopefully educate more people. Also, I think that other major wealthy companies should use Google as an example that you can put your millions to good use. HAts off to Google for taking a bold and important step.

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