It warms my heart to see that a headline story today is in how Google Earth has been working to expose the violence and bloodshed in Darfur.
This part of Sudan has been suffering horrendously in the midst of conflict, with denial from the Sudanese government - and thanks to the efforts of the folks at Google, the violence has been put front and center, with imagery depicting destroyed villages and lives, people displaced, and worse.
From one of the news articles,
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.
Ogle Earth carries some of the details: http://www.ogleearth.com/2007/04/darfur_webcast.htmlAs we saw with Rwanda, we cannot afford to sit by idly and do nothing.
From Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSN1043905220070410
From Associated Press: http://www.siliconvalley.com/latestheadlines/ci_5635344
PC Magazine: http://blogs.pcworld.com/staffblog/archives/004070.html
As an aside, as Google Earth has also been in the hot seat in the news of late, I recently was contacted by Kenneth Wong of Cadalyst Magazine "GIS Tech News" regarding the recent Google Earth controversy on Katrina.
I will certainly be one to defend Google Earth. As a federal contractor doing GIS work for Katrina response, we were long aware of their dedicated Katrina site, and to them I give kudos for providing infrastructure and imagery for the relief effort. Congressional inquiry? Not appropriate, and I certainly hope Google is spared this. However while I said "much to do about nothing" I also soundly will echo Adena Schutzberg's comment that it all the more points up the need for metadata for live data services and online mapping.