HRDAG at Strata Conference 2014

Megan Price at Strata / Feb 2014

Megan Price at Strata / Feb 2014

Last Thursday, HRDAG co-founder and director of research Megan Price presented at Strata, the conference for data scientists and people who work with “big data.” In her talk, she addressed the question of how we can know the actual number of conflict casualties in Syrian. Her short answer was, “We don’t know.” The longer answer was that we have a very good idea of how many conflict casualties have been reported, by several documentation groups, and that we’re working on analyzing the raw data to figure out the total number of conflict casualties—reported and not reported.

strata-MEP-2014-coverageIn the talk Megan addressed the perils of data visualization using raw data, which we’ve addressed in a previous blogpost. In short, visualization using raw data runs the risk of allowing people to confuse what’s been observed and reported with the larger truth. (Sometimes, and for many reasons, what’s been observed and reported is only a fraction of the big picture.) The talk concludes with some preliminary estimates about what has not been reported, as well as some mentions of the methods we use in our analysis. To watch the full 10-minute talk, click here.

The talk was very well received. Kudos to Megan!





Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.