03/28/2008 02:44 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Google Earth Maps Used To Power Nonprofit's Messages

Three-dimensional maps from Google Earth are giving nonprofits new tools in their efforts to raise awareness of issues like deforestation and genocide.

For example, Mary Ann Hitt, executive director of nonprofit Appalachian Voices, said a collective of grassroots organizations is using 3D maps in Google Earth to show how millions of acres of Appalachian Mountains across four states have been destroyed by mining companies. In a process called mountaintop removal, the coal-mining industry blows off the tops of mountains with explosives to get at coal faster and cheaper, she said. As a result, surrounding areas are buried by pollution and waste, streams dry up and a soot lingers in the air, she said.

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