Google Earth Teams Up with U.N. to Track Refugees
California based Google teamed up with the United Nations to unveil a new feature Tuesday, the first of it it's kind.
The new feature tracks the movement of refugees around the world, and is aimed at helping humanitarian operations by keeping them informed of refugees whereabouts. Google and the U.N. also say the feature will help inform the public.
"All of the things that we do for refugees in the refugee camps around the world will become more visible," L. Craig Johnstone, U.N deputy high commissioner for refugees, said.
Google Earth software van be downloaded from Google and is used to view satellite images of locations around the world. the new feature allows users to view images of refugee hot spots such as Darfur and Iraq. Information is then provided by the U.N refugee agency as to where the refugees came from and what problems they face.
Not all parts of the world are displayed with the same high resolution satellite photos, but Google says it has made an effort to get users as close to the camps as possible.
According to Google, more than 350 million people have already downloaded Google Earth, which was launched three years ago and intended for highly realistic video games. The software's used took a different turn when rescuers used it during Hurricane Katrina, which led Google to reach out to governments and nonprofit organizations.
Google Earth has paired up with dozens of nonprofit organizations looking to raise awareness, recruit volunteers and bring in donations.