This is one of those examples that has it all. Well, almost all. Open data, data visualization, social media, apps, censorship, politices, drama, advocacy, activism, and more.
Dronestream, by Josh Begley, collects public information on US drone strikes in other countries, and provides a public API to support data visualization. The data comes from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/ . That’s the open data part.
Here are direct links to the data and the project.
Covert Drone War:
Covert War on Terror: The Datasets:
Meanwhile, Josh set up Facebook and Twitter accounts connected with the project, and started tweeting through the history of the drone strikes, then livetweeting drone strikes as they happened and were reported in the news.
Jun 9, 2013: On Sunday, a US drone fired missiles at a car, killing Hassan, his brother, and 'three others' (Yemen) http://t.co/Ft60ePoo5R
— Dronestream (@dronestream) June 9, 2013
The archive of the Twitter stream has been preserved in an online document at Docstoc.
Visualizing The Illegal Drone Bombardment- Tweeting Every Known US Strike Takes Student Over 12 Hours – Dronestream Tweets by Josh Begley: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/138554537/Visualizing-The-Illegal-Drone-Bombardment–Tweeting-Every-Known-US-Strike-Takes-Student-Over-12-Hours—Dronestream-Tweets-by-Josh-Begley
Josh made an app for the iPhone to send news alerts of new drone strikes.
Drones+ iPhone App: http://vimeo.com/47976409
But then the app was blocked from the iTunes store by Apple because of "objectionable content."
Drone-Tracking App Gets No Traction From Apple: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/08/30/160328600/drone-tracking-app-gets-no-traction-from-apple
The open API allows for data visualizations as well as apps. One data visualization in particular clarifies the story behind the data.
Out of sight, out of mind:
That data visualization featured prominently in the highlights of Josh’s thesis presentation, which appeared on Youtube last week.
Dronestream: Every US drone strike:
The presentation itself was from last month, and is available in the full version on Vimeo.