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View Full Version : Google Earth covers Crisis in Darfur


Dagobahn Eagle
04-11-2007, 03:54 PM
OK, so here you have it: Opening Google Earth, you'll notice that a section of Africa has been given orange, rather than yellow borders (orangle double ring emphasis mine):
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r292/safe-keeper/Darfur1.jpg

Zooming in, you're greeted with this disturbing collection of imagery:
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r292/safe-keeper/Darfur2.jpg

The icon, when clicked on, produces this:
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r292/safe-keeper/Darfur3.jpg

In addition to this window, there are also quite a few other icons - yellow fires, red fires, and cameras:
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r292/safe-keeper/Darfur4.jpg

Cameras link to photographies, yellow fires refer to damaged villages, and red fires refer to destroyed villages (ie. villages where every single building is destroyed).

Each of these icons also link to either short statistics, such as buildings burned, or a photography with a brief description:
http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r292/safe-keeper/Darfur5.jpg

In short, Google Earth has taken it upon itself to raise awareness about the Crisis in Darfur. I personally applaud their move. Up to this point, I did not even know where Darfur was, and this helped me realize the extent of the ongoing humanitarian disaster.

What are your views about Google Earth being used this way? I personally, again, consider it a good move, and I can imagine news agencies, Wikipedia and others doing something similar (showing icons over current evens, and so on), if they don't already.

Nancy Allen``
04-11-2007, 08:04 PM
Google Earth is awesome. If you could have clearer pictures or even video it would be even more mind but it's great for what it is.

Okay, this Darfur crisis, give us a look. It doesn't come up on mine, maybe it needs to be updated, but certainly I think it's a great thing to do to point out these things on their program. Because it lacks the sensationalism of the mainstream media covering Iraq we can look at the crisis in Darfur and if Google decide to cover them other incidents such as the situation in Somalia or the Ivory Coast, or even something as simple as third world hunger in Africa and other continents, objectively and see for ourselves exactly what is going on down on the ground. I know that there isn't video, or not sure how much the picture is updated or how detailed it is (whether it just shows satalite imagery of the location or we can see pictures of what's happening at the time) but we can look over the trouble spots like we might use Google Earth to look at our house and we can think that there are people down there. I think it adds to the impact of it all.

Achilles
04-11-2007, 08:26 PM
In short, Google Earth has taken it upon itself to raise awareness about the Crisis in Darfur. I personally applaud their move. Up to this point, I did not even know where Darfur was, and this helped me realize the extent of the ongoing humanitarian disaster. If heightening the awareness will encourage the people to goad their respective governments into action, then I am all for it. The cynic in me fears that politics will win the day, no matter what. I've given money to Darfur-specific charities and while I hope that its helped in some small way, I can't help but feel that it hasn't changed anything.

What are your views about Google Earth being used this way? I personally, again, consider it a good move, and I can imagine news agencies, Wikipedia and others doing something similar (showing icons over current evens, and so on), if they don't already. I think it's great. The unfortunate reality is that Darfur is on very few peoples' radars. Getting an occasional update only puts the conflict on the front burner until an other Don Imus or Elizabeth Hurley story comes along to lull us back into complacency. If some of these more socially-active corporations want to use their visibility to raise our consciousness, then I'm all for it.

Nancy Allen``
04-11-2007, 08:47 PM
Y'know Anna Nicole Smith, Mel Gibson or hell, even what stars look like without their make up garner more interest than things like Darfur. That's wrong.

Dagobahn Eagle
04-11-2007, 09:17 PM
Some points for those of you who can't see this (yes, you need to update Google Earth and then enable an option called 'Global awareness'):
There are video links.
There are plenty of 'How can I help' links.
As a side note, there are other items than Darfur (see pic below), too, all of which can be enabled/disabled at will.

http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r292/safe-keeper/Items.jpg

I personally co-operative with my parents in helping the Red Cross (I volunteer actively, they pay my membership fees plus the costs of the quarterly issues of the Red Cross magazines - in total about 1000 NOK a year), so my consciousness is clean:).

Achilles
04-12-2007, 02:32 AM
heh, what a coincidence.

Biden calls for military force in Darfur (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070411/ap_on_go_co/us_sudan)

tk102
04-12-2007, 02:51 AM
Hmm. I can't think of anything more important on Earth that could benefit from raising awareness in this way. This is a clear cut case of horrendous acts going unchecked for years. Our media dwells more on who was the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. There is and has been a desperate need for this spotlight that Google Earth has provided. Hopefully this will help stop the violence sooner as public awareness increases.

It's worth noting, however, that Google has taken a big step here turning something that was pure marvel of technology into a tool for social commentary. With that comes the need to start discriminating for bias, where before there was no need. So how much can we trust Google to not decorate/blur details in Google Earth to serve some "public interest"? Just something to think about. I kind of hope that this spins off into a new facet of Google Earth -- Google Earth News or something -- so that Google Earth can remain purely objective.

Achilles
04-12-2007, 02:58 AM
With that comes the need to start discriminating for bias, where before there was no need.Could you please expand on this a little more? Do you mean "no need at all" or "no need when it came to the results of Google searches"? TIA

tk102
04-12-2007, 03:11 AM
The latter. If I looked at Google Earth yesterday, it would've been the same as looking at a map in my glove compartment. If I look at it today, it's an op-ed piece.

If for example, Google decided they were very much against the war in Iraq, they could easily shine their spotlight there and attach images and commentary to influence public policy.

Achilles
04-12-2007, 03:24 AM
That's what I thought, but I was compelled to check :D

SilentScope001
04-12-2007, 07:19 PM
It's worth noting, however, that Google has taken a big step here turning something that was pure marvel of technology into a tool for social commentary. With that comes the need to start discriminating for bias, where before there was no need. So how much can we trust Google to not decorate/blur details in Google Earth to serve some "public interest"? Just something to think about. I kind of hope that this spins off into a new facet of Google Earth -- Google Earth News or something -- so that Google Earth can remain purely objective.

Even if many people would agree with it, Goggle Earth has turned into an op-ed piece, that is in firm support of anti-Sudanese setinment. I really am iffy about Google doing such "properganda", because you are persuading others to agree with your cause. I won't trust Google ever again, that's for sure. I know about Googlebombing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb), where Democrats and Republicans associate keywords on Google to sway public opinon, but this takes the cake on how trustworthy/non-trustworthy Google actually is.

Don't call it Google Earth News however. Google News is fun because I usually find pro-Sudanese articles on there on the current conflict in Darfur. If you are going to call it Google Earth News, you will need to place pro-Sudanese junk on the map as well, indicating terror attacks by the rebels, Sudan people getting killed, etc. which defeats the whole purpose of this map. Instead, the Google founders should just invest money and lend Google Map assistance to those who oppose the Sudanese Government's invovlement. Work on the back-end rather than the front-end.