Ukraine: A collaborative map to compile verified videos of the war

An online collaborative map includes pinpointed locations of hundreds of amateur videos documenting the war in Ukraine.
An online collaborative map includes pinpointed locations of hundreds of amateur videos documenting the war in Ukraine. © Observers

Thousands of images of the war have been posted on social media since the beginning of the Russian intervention in Ukraine on February 24. In order to compile and authenticate these countless photos and videos, the Centre for Information Resilience, a British NGO that promotes democracy and fights disinformation, has developed a collaborative map to document the conflict and allow people to access verified information.

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As more and more videos of the war in Ukraine are released, misinformation, propaganda and confusion are rife on social media. In order to provide users with verified content, the Centre for Information Resilience has developed a collaborative map to compile videos: the Russia-Ukraine Monitor Map.

Hundreds of verified videos

The FRANCE 24 Observers team, Bellingcat, Mnemonic and the Conflict Intelligence Team, among others, are all participating in the collaborative effort. Investigators, including journalists and experts, use open-source software to geolocate and date the videos. Once authenticated, they are recorded on the map, which is made available to the public on the internet. The videos document military movements as well as fighting, damage and casualties of the war in Ukraine.

Benjamin Strick, director of investigations for the Centre for Information Resilience, told us more:

We started to actually document conflicts on the map, so where there might be shellings, where there might have been bombings or gunfire and things like that. [...] We're able to then put a pin in exactly the location where that video was filmed.

The importance of the map is not only to just verify footage, but also to counter claims by Russian state media and the Kremlin in regards to the disinformation that they're putting out at the moment about Ukraine.

This effort to share verified information has already documented abuses against civilians. The video below, taken in Kharkiv and published February 28, was geolocated by a member of this community.

In this week's episode of The Observers, Strick showed us how to geolocate this video by paying attention to some visible features, such as several car parks and distinctive buildings. By cross-checking on Google Maps, you can find out exactly where this image was taken, proving that this bombing did indeed take place in Kharkiv.

More than one thousand videos like this one have been verified and added to the map so far.