Google Tracking Refugees

UN info on displaced peoples now available through Earth mapping feature
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 5:45 PM CDT
Chadian refugees are seen inside a refugee camp at the border town of Kousseri, Cameroon in this Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 file photo.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A new feature allows Google Earth users to take a tour of the world’s refugee hotspots, with images of camps supplemented by information from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the AP reports. The search titan has greatly improved the available resolution in its satellite photos of refugee areas—for example, individual tents are visible in a Chadian camp for Darfur’s displaced.

"All of the things that we do for refugees in the refugee camps around the world will become more visible," said a UN official. Though not initially intended for humanitarian uses, Google Earth realized its higher calling after it was used to coordinate Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Google is considering offering stand-alone version of its mapping software to aid workers on the ground who don't have Internet access.