New web-based app maps in-country news to track conflict in Ukraine

The Ukraine VIINA (Violent Incident Information from News Articles) Dashboard allows users to follow real-time events in Ukraine.

Published Mar 18, 2022 5:25 AM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Jul 27 2022 3:36 AM CDT
1 minute & 21 seconds read time

Robert McGrath, the Schar School of Policy and Government associate professor at George Mason University developed the new app.

New web-based app maps in-country news to track conflict in Ukraine 01 |

Called the Ukraine VIINA Dashboard, the app runs in a browser and visualizes real-time data collected from media sources in Ukraine on a map of the country. The interactive map populates with data points at the relevant location from a given news report, detailing the event type (military or non-military) and links to the original media outlet.

"Our app visualizes geolocated media stories from the event data. We think that journalists and citizens following the war will find it a useful way to access primary sources in a visually appealing way," said McGrath.

The map is based on a dataset from the University of Michigan's professor Yuri Zhukov's Violent Incident Information from News Articles (VIINA) project. The numbers and colors of points on the map indicate how many events originate from that area. Zooming in breaks up the cluster to show where more individual reports are coming from with greater accuracy.

"Eventually, when you drill down enough, you'll see individual nodes, which represent actual news stories about an event that took place there. When you click a node, you'll see metadata about the event, often including a link to the actual story," McGrath said.

"The app presents readily understandable information to English-speaking audiences who otherwise could not make sense of the Ukrainian and Russian data sources. Equally important, our app has a good chance of flying under the radar of Russian state censorship, allowing audiences in Russia a clear picture of what truly is happening in Ukraine," said Eric McGlinchey, another Schar School associate professor.

You can check out the interactive map here.

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