The Art and Science of Data-Driven Journalism

Geojournalism, Satellites, and the Ground Truth

Open data from satellites can revolutionize environmental reporting, as InfoAmazonia has demonstrated over the past two years.184I first met Gustavo Faleiros in Brazil, where the Knight International Journalism Fellow was reporting on what was happening to the Amazon rainforest, in partnership with Washington-based organizations the International Center for Journalists and Internews. Faleiros is the project coordinator for, a beautiful mash-up of open data, maps, and storytelling that enables people to explore how the rainforest of Brazil is changing. Since its launch in 2012, InfoAmazonia has been training Brazilian journalists to use satellite imagery and collect data related to forest fires and carbon monoxide. It has now published 18 interactive maps online based upon gigabytes of geographical data that show deforestation over time, among other subjects.185been dubbed “geojournalism” by its practitioners, or the practice of telling stories with geographic information systems’ (GIS) data generated by the earth sciences. The Environmental News Lab, a multidisciplinary team at Brazilian nonprofit media company O ECO, has published a Geojournalism Handbook186the ICFJ, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network, and the Flag It! Project. The online handbook explains how to use a series of open source and/or Web-based tools to collect, organize, visualize, and publish data, with a specific focus on contributing to and using the growing geocommons of Open Street Maps”the Wikipedia for maps.Other examples of geojournalism187Investigative Environmental Journalism in South Africa, where journalists are tracking poaching of rhinoceroses in the country’s national parks.188the country to increase the capacity of Kenyan journalists to report on international development and private financing.1892014, InfoAmazonia plans to add ground reporting in Brazil, creating applications that would enable nonprofits and residents to share data with O ECO.190