Remote Navigation for Journalists
Hacks/Hackers Nigeria’s November 2018 community meetup was all about equipping participants with the skills to use and apply visuals and satellite imagery simulations to their investigations and storytelling.
The disruptive media sector in Nigeria has brought on the unprecedented challenge of skill gaps. Journalists are rising to the challenge though, as was evident at November’s Hacks/Hacker’s meetup where participants learnt how to apply visuals and satellite imagery simulations to storytelling to provide readers with unique near-real life experience.
The Hacks/Hackers community in Lagos had an exciting time navigating across different geographical locations across the world while taking 3D satellite and aerial maps with Google Earth Pro. The tool has both web-based and desktop apps for users’ flexibility.
Navigating the world in 3D
Launch Google Earth Pro. Take note of toolbar on the left, as well as each tool’s function.
Search — Enables the user to input an address or point of interest. Google Earth allows you to zoom in (with a 3D effect) to that location, focusing on nearby landmarks as well to help you identify the location should you choose to visit it.
Voyager — Designed to take users through historical archives, landmarks, and cities in 3D. It’s one of the most educative and insightful tools to explore.
I’m Feeling Lucky — Allows you to randomly select locations, with a brief history of the place, when you click it. You get to see a simulation of the clouds with the sky-diving experience!
Distance and Area — Measurements and units are a vital part of Geo-journalism and this tool enables journalists to get the distance in meters between locations/ points of interest.
Share — Enables journalists to share high-resolution Satellite and Ariel images among the team or on social media. This is a free service, a function that not many other applications offer for free.
Content and Licencing — It’s important for journalists to read and understand licencing limitations before making use of free content (text, images, video, visualisations, libraries, tools etc). Open licencing and the creative commons have been are a key part of the open data revolution and Google Earth runs on an open source licence.
The facilitator Code for Nigeria lead trainer Blaise Aboh also trained participants on how to use Google Street View and navigate using Map.
The meetup was an exciting, hands-on session that had many participating journalists appreciative of the ways in which 3D satellite technology can enrich their stories.
About the Author
Eromosele John is a trainer and data wrangler with Code for Nigeria. He is an open data enthusiast and a visualization expert. Connect with John on Twitter on the handle @EROMOSELEJOHNA
The worlds of hackers and journalists are coming together, as reporting goes digital and Internet companies become media empires.
Journalists call themselves “hacks,” someone who can churn out words in any situation. Hackers use the digital equivalent of duct tape to whip out code.
Hacker-journalists try and bridge the two worlds. Hacks/Hackers Africa aims to bring all these people together — those who are working to help people make sense of our world. It’s for hackers exploring technologies to filter and visualize information, and for journalists who use technology to find and tell stories. In the age of information overload and collapse of traditional business models for legacy media, their work has become even more crucial.
Code for Africa, the continent’s largest #OpenData and civic technology initiative, recognizes this and is spearheading the establishment of a network of HacksHackers chapters across Africa to help bring together pioneers for collaborative projects and new ventures.