GDELT’s Analysis Service

I first noticed the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone on New Years day, which led me to write Foreign Policy’s Global Conversation Infograhic. Three weeks later the service was mysteriously suspended and five days later we got an explanation as to what happened.

Since the successful resolution of concerns regarding data and processes used by GDELT they have made dramatic progress. GDELT Analysis Service offers fourteen different visualizations and export of the associated data. I entered the keyword ‘Ukraine’, selected all data for 2014, and about a minute later I received an email with this link to a live heatmap and another link to a CSV file.

Ukraine Mentions During 2014

Ukraine Mentions During 2014

Next I used the timeline tool. I was hoping for a live page like the location heat map, but it just produces a static image and a CSV file.

Each GDELT event contains a date, geographic coordinates, the players involved, and the type of interaction. The content is regular enough that it could be mapped to an import process for Sentinel Visualizer, an intelligence sector link analysis tool. I had set out to do something similar with the Global Terrorism Database last summer, but there were license issues, and the dataset lacks the live feed feature that GDELT provides.

GDELT is clearly going to grow services based on the live stream of content they have available. These services are likely to play to the strengths they have in defining and operating the stream. There should be plenty of room for follow on qualitative analysis and integration of data sources external to their feed. Data sources such as spot commodity prices in locations trending towards trouble would be particularly helpful in spotting hazards before they get out of hand.

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