Google is using its popular online mapping service to draw attention to atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. In a joint effort with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Google has updated its Google Earth application (free download here) with high resolution satellite images and special icons to draw attention to destroyed villages, displaced people and refugee camps.

Google Earth allows users to focus on satellite images and maps of most of the world.

When users scan over the Darfur region, where the United Nations estimates that more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in four years of carnage, Google Inc hopes to attract their gaze with icons. The icons represent destroyed villages with flames and refugee camps with tents. When users zoom in to a level of magnification that keeps most of Darfur on a computer screen, much of the region appears to be on fire.

Google Earth works with Mac OS X 10.3.9+, Windows 2000/XP/Vista and Linux. Please visit if you would like to raise awareness or make a donation to help the victims of Darfur.