The HALO Trust uses Google Earth to help get mines out of the ground, now

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM


Founded in 1988, The HALO Trust is the world’s oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organization. Dedicated to the removal of the hazardous debris of war, HALO has cleared over 414,000 acres of land and removed over 13 million landmines and other explosive remnants. Their work allows families to return home, land to be used for agriculture, roads to be re-opened, and children to walk to school safely.

When HALO visited the Google Earth Outreach team at Google headquarters two years ago, we were proud to hear how they use our tools to clear landmines around the world. Since 2006, they have leveraged their Google Earth Pro grant for minefield survey, data validation, quality control and to produce maps for donors, governments, and other NGOs. They have since received a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant to fund creation of their Explore a Minefield project.

Now you can take a tour of the mine-affected areas of Cambodia and Angola with the HALO Trust using Google Earth, and see how landmine removal efforts have helped build safe and vibrant communities. Angelina Jolie, who has visited mine removal efforts in a number of war-torn countries, lent her voice for the narration.

Learn how HALO’s Cambodia staff maps and clears mined areas. Watch the YouTube video or download the tour in Google Earth.

Watching these tours, we were amazed at the sheer number of mines that were laid in Cambodia and Angola and the size and scope of HALO’s effort to clear them in each of the 13 countries where they work. Using Google Earth’s historical imagery to provide time-lapse images of mined areas before and after clearance, they can clearly show how landmine removal is helping war-torn communities rebuild. While this scale of landmine clearance is staggering and inspiring, the tours also show the minefields that still remain.

Learn about Angola’s war-torn history and how HALO is helping communities to rebuild. Watch the YouTube video or download the tour in Google Earth.

To learn more about how you can help The HALO Trust clear these remaining minefields, visit their website.