Syria Tracker

Syria Tracker offers a crisis mapping system that uses crowdsourced text, photo and video reports and machine mining techniques forming a live map of the Syrian conflict since March 2011. Syria Tracker provides:

 

  • A continually updated list of eye witness reports from within Syria, often accompanied by media links

  • Aggregate reports including analysis and visualizations of deaths and atrocities in Syria

  • A stream of content-filtered media from news, social media (Twitter and Facebook) and official sources

  • Wix Facebook page
  • Wix Twitter page
Syria Tracker
Methods
  • Methods Paper we published on Jan 5, 2012, still relevant though we added more sources since and enhanced our machine learning algorithms). (available here)

  • Based on these methods, we helped develop with Oxford University, Every Casualty Standards for Casualty Recording. (available here)

  • Short video we designed in collaboration with SumAll that explained our methods for corroborating various signals. (available here)

  • We have limitations to our methods in which we published here (as with any crowdsourced and big data project, our data does have limitations)

  • Crowdsourcing Platforms Monitor Disease, Dissent, and Disasters, Greg Goth, March 8, 2013. Association for Computing Machinery. (available here)

  • Sample coverage of our methods

    • How Data Scientists Are Uncovering War Crimes in Syria: Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Mashable, 8/8/2014  "Before the high-profile Syrian defector "Ceasar" came forward with evidence of Syria's killing machine, groups of researchers and data scientists have been painstakingly collecting, verifying and analyzing crowdsourced reports from Syria for years, revealing that some evidence of potential war crimes might have been hidden in the data all along." (available here)

    • Wheel of war: casualties of the Syrian conflict mapped out. Wired Magazine, 2014. (available here)

    • Salama, Hana, and Hamit Dardagan. "Stolen futures: the hidden toll of child casualties in Syria." (2013). (available here)

    • We know more about epidemics than ever before. Now what? Elizabeth Dickinson August 8, 2016. Devex. (available here)

    • Tracking Rape In Syria Through Social Media. Deborah Amos, February 5, 2013, All Things Considered, NPR. (available here)

 

Sample Applications
  • Human Rights Advocacy
    • Katharina Rall, Margaret L. Satterthwaite, Anshul Vikram Pandey, John Emerson, Jeremy Boy, Oded Nov, Enrico Bertini; Data Visualization for Human Rights Advocacy. J Hum Rights Pract 2016; 8 (2): 171-197. doi: 10.1093/jhuman/huw011 (available here) [excerpt: Crowdsourced human rights information is submitted by witnesses, survivors, and advocates and presented on interactive maps that are increasingly influential in policy circles because they allow viewers to explore data in near real time.]

    • Syrian refugee crisis map, The Washington Post, December 17, 2013 Syria Tracker, is one of the data sources used to create this map. (available here)

  • Actionable information
    • Crowdsourcing Satellite Imagery: We tried to save 150 people in Aleppo from 5,000 miles away, The Washington Post, Steven Livingston and Jonathan Drake, 01/09/2017. The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy along with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative partnered with AAAS - The American Association for the Advancement of Science, together they corroborated evidence using near-real time satellite imagery and reports on the ground from Syria Tracker. (available here)

    • Defining Polio: Closing the Gap in Global Surveillance June 2015 Tajaldin, B., Almilaji, K., Langton, P., & Sparrow, A. (2015). Defining polio: closing the gap in global surveillance. Annals of global health, 81(3), 386-395. Ref 31: Humanitarian Tracker, SumAll Foundation, Assistance Coordination Unit. Analysis of Syria polio vaccination. Humanitarian Tracker, Arlington, VA; 2014 (available here)

    • Syria struggles to vaccinate residents Inoculation campaigns have faced massive challenges amid the country's plummeting security situation. Sophie Cousins. Aljazeera. (available here)

    • USAID USG Humanitarian Assistance Syria - Complex Emergency (sample map available here and also sample USAID report included below)

  • Insights
    • Tracking Conflict-related Deaths: A Preliminary Overview of Monitoring Systems By Irene Pavesi, Small Arms Survey February 2017. (available here)

    • Widmer, Mireille, and Irene Pavesi. Firearms and Violent Deaths. No. 60. Research Note, 2016. (available here)

    • The Rise of Syria’s Urban Poor April 18, 2014 KILCULLEN, DAVID, and NATE ROSENBLATT. (available here)

    • Following the Headstamp Trail April 15, 2014 This report examines the headstamps of 70 different types of small calibre ammunition and analyses images of cartridge types, packaging, and contextual information such as weapons systems and combatants. Syria Tracker was one of the open source data used in this report. (available here)

    • Arms Prices and Conflict Onset: Insights from Lebanon and Syria May 3, 2014 The strong correlations observed in the article suggest that crowdsourcing methodologies used by organisations monitoring killings, such as Syria Tracker, during the Syrian conflict can effectively capture variations in conflict intensity over time. (available here)

    • Syria Tracker: Women Dying in Numbers. Posted: Huff Post, 12/03/2015 7:25 pm EST. "Unsurprisingly, patterns show a steady rise in the proportion of female deaths over the course of the conflict. It went from less than 1% in April 2011 to over 18% today suggesting targeted killing." (available here)

    • Tracking violence against women in Syria, Hala Gorani, CNN, January 10, 2013. (available here)

USAID 03.13.14 - Syria Public Fact Sheet map