Google yesterday joined up with the US Holocaust Memorial to unveil an online-mapping initiative aimed at educating users about genocide.

The first project under Google and the museum's Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative will include photographs, data and eyewitness testimony about the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. The information is now available on Google Earth.

This content, being linked together for the first time, was posted today in the Google Earth global awareness section.

The Crisis in Darfur project will allow the more than 200 million users of the Google Earth mapping service to visualise and better understand the genocide in Darfur today, the museum said.

"When it comes to responding to genocide, the world's record is terrible," said Sara Bloomfield, director of the Holocaust museum in Washington.

"We hope this important initiative with Google will make it that much harder for the world to ignore those who need us the most."

Content for the Crisis in Darfur project comes from the US State Department, nongovernmental organisations, the United Nations, photographers and the Holocaust museum.

Users can zoom into the region and view more than 16,000 damaged and destroyed villages and the remnants of more than 100,000 homes, schools and other structures destroyed by militia and Sudanese forces, according to the museum.

The museum also announced the creation of a similar mapping project on Holocaust history. The museum said it is using Google Earth to map key historic Holocaust sites with historical content from its collections.

To access the Crisis in Darfur project, users must download the free Google Earth application and then fly over Africa on the mapping service.