UN environment agency partners with Google Earth to spotlight crisis zones

14 September 2006

Touring a virtual planet earth, zooming in on environmental hotspots and comparing today’s crisis zones with yesterday's areas of natural beauty have all become possible thanks to a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Google Earth.

Touring a virtual planet earth, zooming in on environmental hotspots and comparing today’s crisis zones with yesterday's areas of natural beauty have all become possible thanks to a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Google Earth.

Google Earth – Google’s 3D virtual world browser now provides the option to use “UNEP: Atlas of our Changing Environment,” which offers satellite images of 100 environmental hotspots from around the world. The project builds on the success of UNEP’s popular hardcover release One Planet, Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment.

“These satellite pictures are a wake-up call to all of us to look at the sometimes devastating changes we are wreaking on our planet,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “Through spectacular imagery, Google Earth and UNEP offer a new way of visualizing the dangers facing our planet today. By tapping into the global Google community, we are able to reach out to millions of people who can mobilize and make a difference.”

The printed Atlas One Planet, Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment was produced in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States Geological Survey and the University of Maryland.

UNEP: Atlas of our Changing Environment uses images from the 2005 publication together with satellite depictions of changes to African lakes (based on the 2006 Africa’s Lakes: Atlas of our Changing Environment), along with several new images and updates, and brings them into the virtual world of Google Earth. Each location features multiple satellite images which are overlaid directly on Google Earth.

“Google Earth technology already allows a more informative and accessible means of delivering information about our changing environment,” said the project coordinator, Ashbindu Singh, of UNEP's Division of Early Warning and Assessment. “By keeping pace with the changing world of technology and media, UNEP helps the environmental community keep pace with the real changes in our real world.”

 

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