2023 Shortlist

What and when Russia shelled in Ukraine

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Ukraine

Publishing organisation: TEXTY.org.ua

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-08-18

Language: Ukrainian, English

Authors: Petro Bodnar, Yevhenia Drozdova, Nadia Kelm


_Petro Bodnar_: data analyst at Texty.org.ua, member of disinfo monitoring team, researcher of political systems. Master degree in Computer science and Data science. Specializes in visualization, programming and machine learning. Currently joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
_Yevhenia Drozdova_: data journalist at Texty.org.ua. Works with languages R, Python, JavaScript, specializes in creating interactive graphs and maps.
_Nadja Kelm_: designer at Texty.org.ua. Author of the course about design in data visualization for School of Infographic (Internews Ukraine), winner of the national competition The best book design 2019 (the Arsenal Book Festival).

Project description:

This is an interactive map with data on different types of shelling of Ukraine from the Russian side. Since February 24, 2022, there has not been a single day in our country when the Russians did not bombard Ukrainian territory with rocket, air, or artillery strikes. On the map, you can sort the shellings by type and by dates or specific time periods. In some cases, we provide satellite images, right by clicking a rectangle on the map. The dataset is our own, gathered since February 24 from news in media.

Impact reached:

Missile, aviation, artillery. Since February 24, Ukraine has not had a single calm day – Russians are come with various types of shelling of Ukrainian territory every day. How many of them, these different types of shelling, and how were they distributed over the territory of Ukraine during this time?

To find out, we created a data journalism project with an interactive map. The map shows the shelling by date and area, and satellite images y click.

This project gives a general overview and does not aim to show absolute accuracy since some instances of shelling were not mentioned in the news we processed. Our database was created on February 24, 2022 and constantly updating.

Techniques/technologies used:

The project is based on the information about Russian shelling in Ukraine shared in the news. In the first days, there were several sources of information such as the leading news sites, including the local media. However, the information in there was always duplicated, so in a few weeks’ time, we decided to continue monitoring only www.pravda.com.ua/news. Some data also came from verified eyewitness reports (i.e. friends and relatives).

As for the data extracted from the news items, the algorithm was as follows: we listed the names of all settlements that were shelled. We then checked them all against the corresponding date on the fire map. If we saw a fire that day, we indicated its coordinates in the table and marked the entry as accurate. In most instances, fires recorded on NASA satellite maps corresponded with the locations of shelling.

All the strikes are divided into three groups: rocket strikes (along with the air launches), air strikes (projectiles and bombs dropped from aircraft, helicopters and drones), as well as artillery (either barrel or rocket), mortar and tank strikes.

As a source for satelite images we used Planet.com which kindly provided us access to their database.

Context about the project:

We aware that there are other maps on the web, shows shelling of Ukrainian territory, but as far as we know any of them is considered as official. Our work to gather data started on Febuary 24 and still continues. Based on this dataset we also developed other projects, as well are open to share the dataset with researches.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

We started collecting data for this map on 24 February when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. At that time, we focused on comparing the cities that have been mentioned in the news after being hit by the Russian missiles with the map of fires to determine the locations and the extent of the damage. Then the idea changed. As the shelling continued, we developed a table that is still being regularly updated.

Project links: