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UK charities to benefit from new Google Earth programme

London – April 10 2008 – A powerful new programme to help charities reach tens of millions of people around the world was unveiled today by Google. Sir David Attenborough was at the launch to highlight the work by the charity Wildscreen to document and photograph critically endangered species – a project called ARKive. UK charities Wildscreen and WaterAid are using Google Earth, under the new programme, to highlight their work.

The Google Earth Outreach programme gives NGOs and charities the skills and resources to use Google Earth and Maps to show their work and highlight their cause to a mass audience. It means campaigners can overlay written, audio and video information onto Google Earth in what is known as a layer and have their campaigns viewed by people across the globe.

Unveiling the new ARKive layer in Google Earth, Wildscreen charity patron Sir David Attenborough said: “Having spent over 50 years working in natural history broadcasting, I know how important technological innovation is for reaching new audiences. With the Internet, there are now even more opportunities to bring the wonders of the natural world to a global audience. Google Earth is a really powerful way for Wildscreen to show the vital work it’s doing with the ARKive project. 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.”

The new Google Earth Outreach programme includes grants for licences of the professional versions of Google Earth and Google SketchUp (the 3D modelling software) plus text and video tutorials on how to use these powerful tools.

Also speaking at the event 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 reiterated 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. He said: “It is vital that people know what is happening to these species and Google Earth is a great way for ARKive to reach a wider audience. 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.”

A layer by WaterAid was also unveiled showing the work the charity is doing around the world.

WaterAid spokesperson Vincent Casey said: “This Google Earth layer will help WaterAid highlight the life threatening water supply and sanitation issues that affect billions of people every day. The layer also allows us to communicate simply and effectively how WaterAid is making a difference.”

Both the ARKive and WaterAid layers can be found in the Global Awareness folder of the Featured Content section in Google Earth. To download Google Earth for free go to www.google.co.uk/earth.

Rebecca Moore, Head of Earth Outreach at Google, said: “Charities and NGOs are constantly looking for new ways to make people aware of the issues they are trying to solve. Putting information into its geographical context makes it possible to show the complexity and the effect of the work of organisations such as WaterAid and ARKive.”

– ENDS –

About Google Inc.:

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising programme provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google’s headquarters are in Silicon Valley, California with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.co.uk.

About ARKive:

ARKive is a Wildscreen initiative. Wildscreen is a UK-based charity working globally to promote conservation through wildlife imagery. ARKive is a unique digital collection, of thousands of video clips and images of the world’s endangered species www.arkive.org.

About WaterAid:

WaterAid is a leading independent organisation which enables the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. WaterAid works in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region and campaigns globally with partner organisations to realise the vision of a world where everyone has access to these basic human rights. WaterAid’s charity registration number is 288701 www.wateraid.org/uk.

Press Contacts

Google:
Laura Scott
laurascott@google.com
020 7031 3049

Wildscreen:
Amy Nicholas
amy.nicholas@wildscreen.org.uk
0117 328 5952

WaterAid:
Charlotte Godber
charlotteGodber@wateraid.org
020 7793 4909

Notes to editors

To date, 350 million people have downloaded Google Earth around the world. There are 15 layers in the Global Awareness section of Google Earth and thousands of KML layers have been created by individuals and organisations around the world.

More information on Google Earth Outreach can be found at earth.google.co.uk/outreach. The website includes tutorials, case studies, a KML showcase and other online resources. UK-registered Charities and NGOs can apply for Pro Grants of Earth and SketchUp under the programme.

Broadcast footage:

For free video content about Google Earth Outreach in Europe and new Global Awareness layers, please log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/google to preview and request video. You can receive broadcast-standard video digitally or by tape from this site. Registration and video is free to the media.

High resolution images:

Can be requested from laurascott@google.com or by calling 0207 031 3130