Maps & the Open Source

Maps are, perhaps, the most common and important tool for any open source investigator. The reason for this is the versatility, simplicity, and effectiveness of using maps for gathering and visualizing information/evidence. For myself (Robin), it was also my introduction to OSINT with the Tibet Research Project and one of my first ever OSINT guides was on using Google Earth for Geolocation. One of the most fascinating things about using maps is that there are hundreds of tools, databases, methods, and even better, tutorials, to help you improve your skills and your investigation. You can use maps to create databases, crowdsource information, monitor pollution in bodies of water around the world; your opportunities for developing your map skills are (nearly) limitless. Over the next couple months, Investigation Lab will highlight some of the most creative and important ways investigators have used maps to document and tell stories about wrongdoings.

Images from ‘Troubled Waters: Documenting Pollution of Iraq’s Shatt Al-Arab River’ by Wim Zwijnenburg for Bellingcathttps://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2020/11/10/troubled-waters-documenting-pollution-of-iraqs-shatt-al-arab-river/

Maps helps both the reader and the researcher/investigator draw connections between various points of data. Just as Using Maps to See Beyond the Obvious by Allison Killing has been a useful resource for myself in better understanding some of basics in creating datasets and exploring various tools that anyone can easily pick up.