Google earth to highlight endangered species

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London, Apr 12: In a bid to preserve the worlds bio-diversity and help conservationists across the globe in protecting endangered species, Google Earth has launced a new programme.

The Google Earth Outreach programme uses Google Earth and Maps to enable charities and NGOs to highlight their work by plotting points that can be accessed to provide written, audio and video information in what is known as a ''layer.'' These can then be seen by millions of users. The ARKive project, a collection of thousands of films and photographs of endangered species, will feature on the ''layers'' for Wildscreen, a charity that raises awareness of the world's biodiversity, Telegraph reported.

Speaking at yesterday's launch was Chief Almir Surui from Brazil, who has been working with Google for the past year to map his tribe's lands in the Amazon and to create a 50-year plan for sustainable living. Chief Almir stressed the importance of the work that ARKive was doing with Google Earth, explaining that some of the threatened species in the layer are found on his land in Brazil.

''It is vital that people know what is happening to these species,'' he added.

''The Google Earth Outreach team is helping me and my people to map our lands to ensure our knowledge is saved for future generations and to ensure our forests are not cut down by illegal loggers, he said.

''It is visual, easy to understand, and another important step in helping us appreciate that without care and conservation many of our amazing plants and animals may soon be lost forever,'' remarked one of the participants at the launch ceremony yesterday.

''This Google Earth layer will help WaterAid highlight the life threatening water supply and sanitation issues that affect billions of people every day,'' said the spokesperson of Wateraid, an organisation which enables the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water and sanitation unveiled details of their layer to show the work that they are doing.

''The layer also allows us to communicate simply and effectively how WaterAid is making a difference,'' he said. Google has also tied with UNHCR, the UN refugee agency unveiled the new online mapping programme to provide a close-up view of some of the world's major humanitarian crises.

UNI

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