Geneva (Switzerland) – Google Earth has been used in professional news organizations, an official political hot spot and even in NASA, and now the Internet giant has gone even further by striking a new partnership with the United Nations.
The specially crafted online map will track refugees from around the world, to aid in humanitarian operations.
The initiative was launched today in Geneva. Users can now download a Google Earth application that allows users to see satellite images of Darfur, Iraq, Colombia and other refugee hot spots.
According to Google, it focused on making these specific areas more visible in its collection of satellite images around the globe.
“All of the things that we do for refugees in the refugee camps around the world will become more visible,” said UN deputy high commissioner L. Craig Johnstone.
Google did something similar in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, allowing users to view clearer pictures of the ravaged Gulft Coast and in turn helping nonprofit organizations figure out which areas needed the most help.
Google Earth Europe director Samuel Widmann summarized its goal in an AP interview, saying, “Google wants to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”