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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Google Earth used to help clear landmines


The HALO Trust said the technology was easy to use and is now being used everyday by teams in areas such as Afghanistan, Kosovo and Zimbabwe.
The interactive tools, in particular Google Earth Pro, allow the charity to identify and plot mined areas as well as create maps for donors, governments and NGOs.
The maps help ensure that communities in countries affected by war avoid the horrific injuries caused by hidden mines and are able to reclaim land for farming that has been declared safe.
Guy Willoughby, executive director of the HALO Trust, explained in a blog posthow the charity is putting the technology to use.
"Google Earth Pro makes it easier for the HALO team to do the dangerous and detailed work of finding and mapping at-risk areas," he said.
"Because it’s based on the same technology as Google Maps and Earth, it’s easy for our teams to use and create maps without IT or GIS expertise.
"It’s a tool that is familiar to our employees and something they use in their daily lives, so we can start mapping right away."
HALO is the world's oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance operation.
Since its creation in Afghanistan in 1988 it has cleared over 13 million landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
HALO employs more than 8,000 across the world in areas such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kosovo, Laos, Mozambique, Armenia and Zimbabwe.
Luan Jaupi, HALO IT and GIS desk officer, said: “Maps and the map-making process – once the property only of geographers and GIS specialists – have now become the property of the masses."
"Google Earth has become a critical information management tool for the work done by HALO. It is being used every day by the teams in the field, data and operations managers, and decision makers.

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