Ukrainian tech NGO Social Boost, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched Redonbass.org (Russian), an online platform that allows users to monitor destruction in Donetsk and Luhansk (Lugansk) oblasts, where an armed struggle with pro-Russian rebels has been ongoing since last spring.
All information on the destruction is presented in an interactive map. Any user may report on a destroyed home, hospital, or school. Within the platform, it is possible to filter items by category, location, extent of the destruction, and recovery.
“The public is currently not aware of what has been destroyed and what is being done to rebuild. International organizations are experiencing difficulty in planning their activities,” reads the project description. Denis Gurskiy, curator of the project, told tech blog AIN.UA that, for the first time, the U.N. noted the problem of obtaining up-to-date information on the extent of the destruction. As a result, the idea emerged to create Redonbass.org.
“We walked through the market and spoke with the U.N. as they collect their database with the State Agency for the Reconstruction of Donbass They unified everything and created a unified project with mobile apps,” said Gurskiy. They looked at who has which standards for information databases and created the project as local municipalities gather this information. The team began development in early November, releasing the site and Android app during the new year holidays.
The project was funded through a grant from the UNDP, although Gurskiy did not reveal the amount of funding obtained.
The Redonbass site, which is available exclusively in Russian, includes a web platform as well as apps for Android and iOS.
Another site highlighting the destructions in Ukraine’s war-torn areas, the “Unified Register of Damage to Infrastructure in the ATO,”* has been operating since September 2014. This Russian-language platform was initiated by “Civil Initiative,” which aims to provide Ukrainians with an opportunity to evaluate the scale of destruction in the eastern part of the country. The project has no mobile version, but appears to be frequently updated.
A number of other interactive maps have sprung up since the revolution began to highlight ongoing political or military events in the country. One of the first to emerge was “Active Phase of the ATO,”* a Russian-language resource, which was created by journalists from online publication Texty. Later, volunteers from the “Heroism” charitable initiative made an online map of battles of the “Russo-Ukrainian War” – also in Russian – in order to create a chronology of events for the new history of Ukraine. However, among the most reliable and frequently updated is an online map on Wikipedia in Ukrainian language.
Finally, a Georgian publicist created an English-language interactive map of the “Ukrainian Crisis.” The site, however, has not been updated since August 2014.
* Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) is the name given by the Ukrainian government to the operation aiming to combat the insurgency.