Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Google Earth shows Darfur destruction

Google and the US Holocaust Museum have launched an online mapping project that details the atrocities in Darfur.

"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."

With Google Earth, you can go to the Sudan and you'll see the damaged and destroyed areas marked by flame icons. Then you can zoom in and turn the map vertically so it gives a visual impression almost like walking through the area. Many villages are completely destroyed, with nothing left but burned and razed remains. The clickable icons reveal information about each village: the extent of damage and some historical data.

It's terrible, but the project is very cool in that it keeps up awareness of a situation that seems to sometimes get drowned out by the publicity of more high-profile states of emergency like Iraq.