And the 2019 local winners are... 🥁

Team Lemon-aid and Team Feather

Team Lemon-aid


The situation in Syria is dire. One reads countless stories about refugees, migrants, war, poverty and homelessness. Millions of people are displaced from their homes, many of them ending up in refugee camps or settlements in or around the border. These are populations that are vulnerable and access to basic needs becomes a great challenge.

At present, there are 20+ humanitarian and aid organisations assisting with relief operations in and around Syria. In order for them and many more potential organisations to carry out this great work, technology and data play a huge role. There are hundreds of websites and multiple sources that contain data about Syria. Data can be obtained from various sources including satellite data, United Nations data repositories and a plethora of open data sources. A big challenge is to bring all this data together into a common platform that can be used to identify, even more accurately, those populations that need aid the most.

This is the reason we created Lemon-Aid, an online visual platform that combines different open data sources including weather and environment data as well, which can help aid organisations identify those in need. We chose Syria as the focus of this project because one of our team members is a Syrian refugee himself and has first-hand experience and knowledge about the requirements of the people. However, taken forward, this platform has the potential to identify vulnerability all across the globe.


Data Used in the Challenge

Conflict data in Syria, Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) - Contains information about armed conflicts and useful variables such as date, event type and actors involved.
Conflict data in surrounding region, Uppsala conflict data program - WebApp with data showing the year, type of violence, parties involved, location, event sources and number of deaths in surrounding regions of Syria.
Population density of Syria, WorldPop - Very high resolution data of population density overlays per country per year.
Syria Refugee Sites 2016, The Humanitarian Data Exchange - The locations, names, administrative divisions and designations of Syrian refugee sites as of 2016.
Syria Border Crossings, Data.World - Information about all land border crossings to and from Syria.
Country administrative areas, DivaGIS - Shapefiles for administrative areas for Syria and its surroundings.
Water sources in Syria, DivaGIS - Used to locate water sources inside Syria, describes water source status including latitude and longitude.

Data not used in the challenge, but useful potential sources for further development:

Operational portal refugee situations - Contains valuable information about refugees including camp assessments, camp master lists and population flow.
Aid fund tracker, Financial Tracking Service & Humanitarian Data Exchange - Comprehensive data available about the total amount of all reported funding to the country both inside and outside the response plan or appeal.
Iowa Environmental Mesonet, Iowa State University - Contains weather data from 4 airport weather stations in Syria and records temperature, wind direction, speed, relative humidity for each hour.
NASA USGS MODIS Land surface temperature and emissivity dataset - NASA satellite data showing surface temperatures averaged globally in a spatial resolution of 1200X1200 km grid. Provides data for both day and night time.
Drought data, SPEI - This source provides overlays of drought intensity.
Twitter API - Hashtags can be analysed either in the surrounding areas or on trending topics that may point towards conflict.
Copernicus Sentinel 2 satellite image data - High resolution satellite photographs of every region on Earth.
Fragile index - Overall fragile index score calculated based on factors such as security apparatus, group grievance. Indicates fragility of a country
Health Data, The Humanitarian Data Exchange - Information about various health sites in Syria, but sparse.
Knoema - Website containing various data fields including demographics, crime, poverty, transport amongst others. Good for painting an overall picture about a country.
ENERGYDATA.INFO, The World Bank - Includes solar irradiation and PV power potential maps.

Challenges Faced

On Saturday morning, it was challenging deciding how to narrow down the scope of our project but the mentors and sessions with the charts helped a lot. The main challenge was gathering appropriate data for our platform as there is a plethora of sources available with different formats, types and access issues, and combining these sources into an aggregated form. There was not enough time to integrate all the relevant sources we could find so deciding on the ones needed was a bit challenging as well.