What is CrisisNET?

CrisisNET is a platform-as-a-service making finding and using crisis-relevant data fast and easy. Previously, getting clean, normalized multi-source crisis-relevant data took hours (even days) and hundreds of lines of code, with CrisisNET it only takes a single API request.

Can you explain it to me without the technical jargon?

It's easy. Imagine you want to create a visualization about the Syrian civil war. Can you name the hundreds of data sources producing crisis relevant data on Syria? No? That means you have to spend days scouring the internet for data sources that have useful data on Syria. Begrudgingly, you put in the effort and after a week of chasing down rabbit holes you have compiled a list of relevant data sources. That is great! But now you face a new problem: all the sources you have structured their data differently. Some data sources format the date as DD/MM/YY while other data sources use MM/DD/YY. Some data sources provide a latitude and longitude coordinates while others only mention the regional province’s name. I could go on, but you get the point. Needless to say, you have a huge amount of work on your hands putting all the data into a common format, all of which needs to be done before you can get to the work that prompted all this effort in the first place: the visualization.

With CrisisNET, all of the above (and much more) has been done for you already. Just ask the platform for data on Syria and you are ready to go.

How does CrisisNET work?

CrisisNET pull in data from thousands of crisis-relevant data sources, from individual Facebook posts to UNHCR refugee updates to Ushahidi deployments. The data from all the sources is first normalized into a common structure and then enhanced with relevant metadata (e.g. language, reverse geo-coding, and keywords). This data is then made available to users through multiple API endpoints for a period of time (currently a month or more).

How can I get started?

  1. Make an account and get an API key.
  2. Get inspired by some examples.
  3. Make an API request.

I have crisis data! Can I make it avaliable on CrisisNET?

Absolutely! CrisisNET collects data through short scripts we call "suckas" (because they suck in data). They take only a few minutes to write and be coded in either javascript or python.

Is CrisisNET free?

Yes, but with a caveat. Our goal is to make crisis data more available to the people who want to use it. As such, we try hard to make the service free. However, if individual users are straining our servers or increasing our costs in other ways, it is possible that a fee will be required.

Are there restrictions on how I can use CrisisNET?

Users of CrisisNET must follow our Terms of Service and Code of Conduct. Just as importantly, individual data sources have their own restrictions (e.g. non-commerical use, sharealike, or credit citation). Information on third-party restrictions are provided with each datum.

Who funds CrisisNET?

CrisisNET has been made possible with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation.

How can I contact CrisisNET?

twitter: @CrisisNET
email Chris Albon: chris//ushahidi//com
email Jonathon Morgan: jonathon//ushahidi//com