Violence, whether it is focused on individuals such as crime or at larger scales such as war, seems to be almost inevitable in our world. However, researchers are asking if it can be prevented and if geospatial big data techniques, including machine learning methods, could potentially be used to prevent violence from going out of control.
A recent World Economic Form blog has highlighted varied efforts that attempt to mitigate violence at different scales, with geospatial data often a core feature of different methods discussed in these tools.
Mapping Local Violence and Harassment
Two tools have been recently developed that focus on small-scale acts of violence and harassment. Using crowdsourcing and hot spot mapping, Safecity and HarassMap have been created, which depict recent trends of assaults, sexual harassment, and local crime to help individuals determine areas to avoid.
These tools focus on individual urban blocks, helping users gain a more fine-scale understanding of safety in different areas. The tools use police and individual reports and online data, which helps users better navigate neighborhoods in real-time and determine safety in different areas.
Mapping Violence at a Larger Scale
At larger scales, an initiative that started in 2017 has been developed to help forecast political violence in Africa. The initiative is called Violence Early-Warning System (ViEWS). The effort collects data related to armed conflict involving states and groups, including non-state actors, and violence focused on civilians.