13 Mar

Map of the Week: Live Universal Awareness Map

Live Universal Awareness Map, or Liveuamap for short, is a revolutionary new source of data that is displayed spatially to show global news and information. Founded in 2014, this company has a goal to “help predict and prevent future conflicts, minimize the impact of disasters, and assist travelers around the world in making conscious decisions about their security throughout their journeys.” (Liveuamap)

Essentially this is an interactive map that displays news related data from around the globe. By focusing on certain regions,users have the option to click on points within the map and see news stories related to that area. For example, the pink area in the map above indicates a “Winter Storm warning” and other points on the map indicate tornado warnings, crime alerts, and humanitarian announcements. According to their site, points on the map can represent a range of stories including conflicts, human rights issues, protests, terrorism, weapons deployment, health matters, natural disasters, and weather related stories, among others, from a vast array of sources. Liveuamap is dedicated to the factual reporting of information, and they are able to achieve this by maintaining independence from other large news organizations.

In order to find information to put on the map and provide a constant feed of the most relevant news, sophisticated AI web crawlers are used to find stories. A web crawler is a, “program or automated script which browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner.” (Science) The results that are found are then forwarded to a group of analysts for fact checking and editing. The editors at Liveuamap decide which stories should be displayed and which ones should not, in order to minimize spam and irrelevant information shown on the maps.

Future improvements to the mapping software include allowing users to create and manage their own maps, so that the kind of news stories shown are tailored to the viewer’s interests. Today there are more than 30 regions and topics covered on these maps, which translate several languages and can even be used on smartphones! Interactive maps like these are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and are helping viewers to maintain awareness of what’s going on in the world.



Written by: Sean Halpin