Using Data and Mapping to Prevent and Respond to Conflict

Web platform Open Situation Room Exchange uses real-time analytics to provide an insight into conflict and civil unrest around the world. 

Author Anna Rees, 12.19.16

Web platform Open Situation Room Exchange uses real-time analytics to provide an insight into conflict and civil unrest around the world. 

Data is increasingly being used in peacebuilding and peacekeeping efforts. Applications that map and track crises have helped give an insight into unrest following elections in Kenya (platform: Ushahidi); and allow people to better monitor conflict zones in Sudan and South Sudan (platform: Satellite Sentinel Project); among others. A 2012 paper from Notre Dame University in the USA outlined the specific role empirical research and data played in finding out about the pivotal role impartial peacekeeping forces play in maintaining peace post-conflict. In short, data is playing a big role in peacebuilding.

In order to boost the efforts of conflict monitoring and forecasting, as well as better understand the context of conflict after violence has broken out, the team at PeaceTech Lab (a US non-profit developed by the United States Institute of Peace) launched the Open Situation Room Exchange, an integrated platform that presents data visualisations of important conflict indicators.

The platform provides an overview of conflict and instability for over 150 countries. The data set has been compiled from analysing news reports about protests, civil unrest and outbreaks of violence coming out of each region and combining this with trends, discussions, key terms and posts making the rounds on social media. Alongside these grassroots data indicators, the team behind the platform has also collects and evaluates data from publicly available sources into areas like economic stability, security, governance, as well as makes risk-assessment forecasts. A full list of the platform’s data sources can be found here. The data is then presented in the form of maps, word clouds, timelines and more.

The platform aims to give peacebuilders targeted insight into variables and factors that might lead to or support violence and unrest. PeaceTech Lab also hopes to use the data to inform policymakers when it comes to developing anti-violence initiatives.

To learn more about Open Situation Room Exchange, head to the website.

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