What your peers are doing

(And what you’re certainly more than capable of doing … )

Storybench

Crowdsourcing maps of ISIS and other Middle East conflicts

Thomas van Linge recently tweeted a photo of a munitions truck being blown up in Syria, presumably by the First Coastal Division, a faction of rebels affiliated with the Free Syrian Army. In his tweet, which was sent to his more than 13,000 followers, van Linge linked to a YouTube video of the explosion, and included its location: “near Joureen, Ghab plain.” He then cross-referenced the location with a home-made map to make sure he had the most up-to-date movements of the Syrian rebels.

No, Thomas van Linge does not work for the U.S. State Department and he’s not a journalist. He’s a 19-year-old high school student in Amsterdam and he’s joining a growing movement of citizen cartographers mapping violence in the Middle East. It’s an endeavor few media outlets have replicated as consistently as van Linge and his cohorts

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