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, the icons seem to indicate that much of the region is on fire. Clicking on flame icons will open windows with the village's name and statistics on the extent of destruction.
Google enhanced the resolution for certain areas of the region so that users can zoom in to see the burnt remnants of houses. Google says it will periodically update the images.
The online maps of the region also include an icon that links to a presentation by the Holocaust museum on the crisis in the region with photos, video, historical background and testimony on atrocities.
Sara Bloomfield, the museum's director, said museum staff members had approached Google about the project as they sought ways to highlight what they believe is genocide to many people who remain unaware. In Google Earth, which the company says has been downloaded by 200 million people worldwide, they found an ideal medium.
"This is like the world's biggest bulletin board," Bloomfield said."