the home of online investigations

Bellingcat Launches Monitoring the Ukrainian Ceasefire with Silk and Checkdesk

February 14, 2015

By Eliot Higgins

Following the success of our Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project Bellingcat is now starting a new project to monitor the Ukrainian ceasefire that comes into effect at midnight local time. As with the earlier project, Bellingcat will be using Checkdesk to crowdsource reports of ceasefire violations, and to also attempt to verify those reports. Once reports are verified they will be added to a Silk database allowing us to create a map of verified ceasefire violations embeddable on any website.

For this project, Checkdesk will be organised slightly differently from the Ukraine Conflict Vehicle Tracking Project. As before, we’ll be using Bellingcat’s Checkdesk, with users submitting links through the Submit Report option at the top of the page, but as we expect multiple reports to be linked to specific incidents each update will relate to an incident rather than individual reports.

For those of you who wish to participate this will be a chance to practise your skills at investigating social media, looking for information on events. If a violation is reported you should look at sites like YouTube, VKontakte, Twitter, Facebook and others, going keyword searches using the location names and other related words in Ukrainian and Russian. Text only posts from individuals in the local areas can be useful in these circumstances, as they help build a picture of what’s going on in those areas, that can be further verified with photographic and video evidence.

Visit Checkdesk to submit reports to the Monitoring the Ukrainian Ceasefire page.

Submitting data through Checkdesk

Checkdesk is a platform that allows users to collaborate on the verification of reports, videos, photographs, and other information. We also hope that by making the process as open as possible we encourage our readers to participate in the discovery and verification process, giving them the opportunity to learn about verification and giving those who already have experience verifying content chance to share their knowledge.

Using Checkdesk couldn’t be simpler. A Checkdesk story (example here) is made up of updates, and each update is generally based around verifying individual elements of a story, be it an image or a claim made about the story. Anyone can add verification footnotes to an update, and once “journalists” (site moderators) decide the update is verified or not they can update the status to False, Verified, Undetermined, In Progress, or Not Applicable (example here).

The following are guides and other resources on verification:

Tools

Google Earth Pro – Now free.

Clip Converter – Video saving site.

Keepvid – Video saving site.

Tube Offline – Video saving site for videos from VK.com.

Archive.org – Site for archiving web pages.

VLC Media Player – A free and light weight media player with various useful tools and options.

Paint.Net – Free digital photo editing software.

Guides

A Beginner’s Guide to Geolocating Videos

Verification and Geolocation Tricks and Tips with Google Earth

Geolocation Techniques – Mapping Landmarks

Open Source Information in Conflict Zones

War and Pieces – Social Media Investigations

The Verification Handbook

Eliot Higgins

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques.

Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.

Support Bellingcat

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the below link:

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)