The Evolution of Data
In this talk, I would like to talk about the practice of data as an investigative method. Data-driven investigations bring together a wide variety of disciplines and techniques. They combine code, design, and analysis and thus can not only extend previous forms of research but also develop and execute entirely new methodologies. I want to highlight different aspects of data-driven methods and their opportunities for systematic investigations and interdisciplinary collaborations.
I will use an investigation between the architect Alison Killing, the journalist Megha Rajagopalan and me, where we looked for unknown internment camps in China’s region of Xinjiang, as a case study. These camps hold people from ethnic and religious minorities, largely the Uyghurs. We built custom software to combine the systematic detection of censorship on Baidu Maps with architectural analysis of satellite imagery and added personal narratives from former inmates. Based on our methodology, we were able to classify hundreds of previously unknown camps.