In a conflict as grisly as Syria’s civil war, getting humanitarian aid to those who need it can be a life-threatening affair. Fortunately for those hoping to help, data from sources like Twitter, YouTube, and a range of others lets researchers turn war into a giant data science project, helping understand the tension between groups, how armed they are, and where they’re headed next.
One year ago, Palantir Technologies donated their data organization software to nonprofit the Carter Center. “We wanted to see who the biggest fish amongst the opposition are, everyone relates to one another, and who’s funding who,” says Christopher McNaboe, who works on the Syria Conflict Mapping project. Now that the the U.N. has granted unauthorized border crossing into Syria to provide relief, that data can finally be put into action.