Sudan: Following the January referendum in Sudan, in which nearly 99 percent of voters voted in favour of independence, Google announced that it is gearing up to map the world’s newest country: The Republic of South Sudan, which is expected to take shape later this year.
Google is teaming with the World Bank, Sudan Institute, Voices for Sudan, The Enough Project and other organisations—as well as 70 members of the Sudanese Diaspora—to map South Sudan. To get things rolling, Google has published updated satellite imagery of the region to Google Earth, covering 125,000 square kilometres and 40 percent of the UN’s priority areas. Google Maps is now calling on members of the Sudanese Diaspora and others who have lived and worked in the area to contribute their local knowledge of the region.
Google Maps has been intimately involved in the Sudanese struggle since December, when it teamed up with the UN, Harvard University, and an organisation called Not on Our Watch (co-founded by George Clooney) to launch a project called The Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellites to monitor Sudan and thereby prevent war crimes from happening. The project was launched in the weeks leading up to the referendum—which was expected to get bloody.