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Google uses map software to help boost nonprofits

NEW YORK -- Google Inc. launched an initiative yesterday to help non profit groups use maps and satellite images to raise awareness, recruit volunteers, and encourage donations.

The Google Earth Outreach program represents a formalization of ad-hoc partnerships with organizations using the free software to publicize their works.

Already, the U S Holocaust Memorial Museum has been using Google Earth to call attention to atrocities in the Darfur, Sudan.

By turning individual efforts into a formal program, the Mountain View, Calif.-based search company hopes to make its tools more widely available to non profits around the world.