Crowdsourcing of insights helps cope with refugee issues

The refugee crisis is still far from over. Each day, people die or are reported missing on their way to their promised land. And there is very little we can do to help, as an individual anyway. But what if we joined forces to provide new insights into the refugee streams and associated problems, using just one single mobile app? That is what IOM (International Organization for Migration) aims to achieve with their GatherIQ app.

The International Organization for Migration was established in 1951. Its purpose: to help fight refugee issues, by providing various types of advice and service to the 166 member states and directly to the refugees.

One of the projects that IOM has launched to this purpose, is the so-called ‘Missing Migrants Project’, which aims to keep score of the number of deceased and missing persons on all migration routes worldwide. This project, which was launched following the humanitarian disaster near Lampedusa in 2013, with nearly 400 fatalities, provides policy makers and media with valuable information to obtain a correct and complete assessment of the current state of affairs.

But why not go further? What if these data could lead to valuable new insights? What if you could discuss these insights with likeminded parties? And while you’re at it, with the outside world, using social media? What if you didn’t need complex and expensive analytics software to do all this, if a simple user-friendly app was all you need? Wouldn’t this be a huge contribution to the fight agains refugee issues? This type of reasoning has led to SAS’ GatherIQ project.

GatherIQ is an innovative crowdsourcing project: SAS puts its Visual Analytics at the disposal of anyone interested in tackling world problems. This particular IOM project is the first tangible result and illustration of what the project aims to achieve: that each of us needs nothing more than a mobile app to gain access to interactive reports, to visualize the available numbers in various ways, and hopefully to gain some new insights.

These new insights can, in the first place, be shared with fellow volunteers, who can validate, refine or refute them. Next, they can be shared with other organizations, who can adapt their policy to the new findings. And, with just one click on a button, they can be shared with the entire world using social networks, allowing everyone an overview of the actual extent of the refugee problem.

By combining the power of data with the power of the crowd, we can contribute significantly to a solution for world’s biggest problems of today and tomorrow. And, while doing so, learn a great deal about the potential of data visualization as a problem-solving technology. That’s precisely the reason why we get so excited about this GatherIQ-project. It combines many of SAS’ core values: making use of the best technology to reach valuable solutions, engaging our technology and employees for a better world, and contributing to a larger number of available analytics experts and data scientists.

If you’re interested in contributing to insights and solutions to the refugee issues as well, you can download the GatherIQ app for free. For now, it is only available in the Apple App Store, but soon there will also be an Android version and a web app.