The Ocelli Project started as a response to the prosecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. In December 2021, Ocelli Project published their findings documenting 38,000 buildings that had been destroyed whereas 24,000 of these had clear burn marks. They did most, if not all of this, remotely and volunteer-run. It is one of the most impressive open-source investigations I have seen this year.
When the Ocelli Project announced their findings, they did more than just publish a long read in a journal or magazine. They published their findings on a dedicated website together with detailed geospatial analysis, a complete database with over 600 entries, and their methodology. They partnered with C4ADS for the publication.
Their transparent methodology has several effects. Firstly, it allows any skeptics to review their work and replicate their findings. Secondly, it can serve as guidance to anyone trying to start a similar project elsewhere – like with the Tibet Research Project. Finally, it “enables researchers to access insights into the genocide from afar and provides reference and verification for other open-source data”. The Ocelli Project is the definition of public service investigation done right.
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