Since 2010, the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) has demonstrated that digital volunteers can play an instrumental role in supporting humanitarian, human rights, development and media organizations. SBTF volunteers—or Mapsters we call ourselves—use purely manual methods to create the many live maps requested by activating organizations. This manual approach made sense since we were drafting our workflows for the very first time. In other words, we prioritized process over technology.
Now that we’ve gone through several workflow iterations, the time is ripe to identify what technologies might help us accomplish our tasks more efficiently. This is where the team at Geofeedia comes in. The platform they’ve developed has the potential to significantly improve and facilitate the important work carried out by the SBTF Media Monitoring Team. This team’s responsibility is to monitor mainstream and social media in near real-time to identify relevant information for live mapping purposes. Geofeedia could become an instrumental platform in this respect because the tool allows users to create a customized “Geofeed”, which provides a “bird’s eye view” of social media content.
“A Geofeed is an aggregated set of user-generated content from within a virtual perimeter of a real-world geographic area that captures all geo-tagged data that was created within that area. Typically, this data is generated from mobile phones but also computers. User generated content could include social media content from services such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, etc.”
“A Geofeed could be dynamically generated in the shape of a circle, polygon, or series of circles or polygons. Or, a Geofeed could be defined as a predefined set of boundaries, such as the shape of a stadium, building, or city. A Geofeed can also be set to capture data for pre-set date ranges such as right now, yesterday, last year or any other specified range.”
For more on Geofeedia and how the tool can be used in disaster response, please see my previous blog post.
We’re very excited to announce a formal partnership with Geofeedia. The purpose if this partnership is to use and test the platform for live mapping humanitarian crises and beyond. We’ll be providing the Geofeedia team with expert feedback on all operational aspects of their tool, which they are kindly letting us use for free in return. In sum, we are very please to be collaborating with Geofeedia to improve the ways we can support humanitarian organizations in the field.