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Google to help refugees

28 April, 2008
By Allison Orr

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has unveiled a new partnership with Google Earth called "Google Earth Outreach" to help track refugees and raise awareness of its work.

The programme allows organisations to add their own data and information as a "layer" on top of the existing Google Earth service to show UNHCR refugee operations in Iraq, Darfur and Colombia.  The layer also provides an overview of the UNHCR structure and operations, and allows users to click on an icon of a camp in the refugee areas to read a pop-up window which details life and histories for refugees.  Showing the work of the agency in geographic context highlights the challenges faced by refugees and the issues involved for aid agencies to ensure their health and livelihoods.

This is not the first time Google Earth has been used to highlight a humanitarian crisis. It has been used to focus on Darfur previously.

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