2012-06-07

Co.Exist

Using Google Earth To Track Down Land Mines

You can use Google to find the fastest route somewhere, or the closest subway. Now you can use it to avoid areas where there might be explosives buried in the ground, too.

Over the years, Google Earth’s handiness has become apparent to all--you can use it to teach students geography, observe disasters, explore that new neighborhood you’re interested in moving to, and more. The HALO Trust, the oldest and biggest humanitarian landmine clearance organization in existence, may win the prize for squeezing the best use out of Google Earth: The organization uses Google’s product to identify and map mined areas, track progress, prioritize removal efforts, and perform data quality control (staff can collect mine information in the field and then corroborate with Google Earth).

HALO started using Google Earth Pro two years ago for its land mine efforts. This week, Google Earth and HALO Trust released two videos that let viewers explore landmine-riddled areas--and see how their removal has made a difference in local communities. The videos are, unsurprisingly, narrated by do-gooder extraordinaire Angelina Jolie.

Presumably, the just-announced Trekker camera, a lithium battery-powered, backpack-mounted camera that takes Google Maps off main roads, will help in the land mine detection and recovery effort.

Want to learn more about Google Earth and land mines? Click here to watch the HALO minefield tours on the platform.

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