Google Earth maps atrocities in Darfur

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:19am EDT

The town of Labado in Darfur in a May 2005 photo after it was abandoned by its 60,000 inhabitants when it was attacked in December 2004. Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum launched an online mapping project on Tuesday to provide what the museum said was evidence of atrocities committed in Sudan's western Darfur region. REUTERS/Evan Schneider/U.N. Photo JJ

The town of Labado in Darfur in a May 2005 photo after it was abandoned by its 60,000 inhabitants when it was attacked in December 2004. Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum launched an online mapping project on Tuesday to provide what the museum said was evidence of atrocities committed in Sudan's western Darfur region.

Credit: Reuters/Evan Schneider/U.N. Photo JJ

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Search engine Google and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum launched an online mapping project on Tuesday to provide what the museum said was evidence of atrocities committed in Sudan's western Darfur region.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003 and some of this carnage -- which the United States calls the first genocide of this century -- has been detailed by Google Earth, the search engine's mapping service (earth.google.com).

Using high-resolution imagery, users can zoom into Darfur to view more than 1,600 damaged or destroyed villages, providing what the Holocaust Museum says is evidence of the genocide. Sudan's government denies that genocide is taking place.

In addition, the remnants of more than 100,000 homes, schools, mosques and other structures destroyed by janjaweed militia in Darfur, Sudanese forces and others are visible.

"When it comes to responding to genocide, the world's record is terrible. We hope this important initiative with Google will make it that much harder for the world to ignore those who need us the most," said Holocaust Museum director Sara Bloomfield in a statement.

"Crisis in Darfur" is the first of the museum's "Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative" that is aimed at providing information on potential genocides early on in the hope that governments and others can act quickly to prevent them.

"At Google, we believe technology can be a catalyst for education and action," Elliot Schrage, Google's vice president, said in a statement.

Sources for the project included the U.S. State Department, nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations and individual photographers as well as the Holocaust Museum, which is based in Washington.

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