“Syria Tracker” Uses Crowdsourcing to Help Report Human Data

The current conflict in Syria is constantly changing and hard to track. Many Syrians have fled the country and are refugees in neighboring nations, where their injuries, illnesses, births, deaths, and other usually easily trackable statistics are getting lost in the refugee camps. According to Ushahidi (http://blog.ushahidi.com/2011/05/24/syria-tracker-crowdsourcing-crisis-information/), there’s a crowdsourcing effort and reporting crimes via a new application called Syria Tracker. Reporters can report crimes via email, twitter, or voicemail. The reports are then verified by task forces and humanitarian workers to cross-validate the information in an effort to obtain a more accurate sense of the crisis in Syria and around it. Syria Tracker has documented more than 1000 crimes since it’s inception in 2011. This use of crowdsourcing is helpful in humanitarian and legal efforts, now and in the future. 

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5 responses to ““Syria Tracker” Uses Crowdsourcing to Help Report Human Data

  • mjurczuk

    I like that this Syria Tracker does more than just use the submitted information from reporters. After the tech tools presentations in class, I got a little pessimistic about the validity of a lot of these programs since a lot of them are largely dependent on reports from laypeople. In my opinion, the cross validation is a very important component of this program.
    In addition, I’m curious about who these “reporters” are. I can’t imagine it would be the refugees themselves reporting to the Syria Tracker about the births and deaths of their fellow refugees. You stated that the program has documented more than 1000 crimes since its inception, so it does seem to be successful…I just wonder how exactly it has accomplished this.

  • abernst2

    The same question came up for me as well. Who exactly are the “reporters”? It is important to take into the account the people that are actually going to report crimes, or even have the ability too? Obviously, this program seems to be successful, but this is subjective. Also, by “reporters”, do that mean any civilian who reports a crime? or police officers? or journalists? In my opinion, who exactly reports a crime is very relevant, especially in politically unstable places like Syria where corruption is widespread.

  • sydlicht

    My questions would echo those of Ariel’s above; however, in light of our discussion in class and guest speaker on Thursday, I find this application very interesting. In times of crises, it is difficult to relay verifiable information to the public, and while this info may not be 100% verifiable, the crowd-sourcing platform provides an opportunity for the people to protect one another. Also, I wonder how this platform is being advertised so that people know to use it. I am sure that if it were to be widely publicized, it could cause more harm than good.

  • skagan2016

    I know for the unrest in Venezuela some similar techniques were used. Since media and many other social media/communication techniques were restricted people used twitter to communicate. A lot of people would use twitter to communicate when people were kidnaped, or the status of students who may have been held hostage. Obviously the Syria Tracker program is more developed and specified for the situation in Syria, but in times of desperation, basic technology like this app, or twitter can help families find out the status of loved ones, or try to just figure out where they have gone.

  • Souraya Tafrah

    There is a more updated post here on Syria Tracker by Ushahidi. The reference above is quite old, so this one has more informaiton

    http://blog.ushahidi.com/2014/04/08/humanitarian-tracker-crowdsourcing-syria-crisis-since-2011/

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