Riots Get Mapped On Google As London Burns

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I can’t quite believe I am writing this. London is my home town, where I was born. For whatever reason – a flashpoint around the shooting of a man by Police on Thursday? Social deprivation? Youth unemployment? The economy? Boredom? Good weather? Easy access to the ability to organise online? Frankly take your pick – London is turning into patchwork of riots and looting across the capital which appear to flare up at random. They started in the north over the weekend, but, like a virus – a meme even – have spread. Large parts of Croydon in the south are now on fire.

And yes, there is even a link to technology, but, I guess we already found that this morning. In that instance we found what appeared to be a genuine link between the free, fast and private group-messaging ability of the BlackBerry Messaging network and many rioters. Paid Content has followed up with news that BlackBerry is “assisting Police” – but there appears to be no plan to shut down the network.

Meanwhile Twitter is alight with information under various hashtags, possibly the biggest is LondonRiots. There are a number of journalists out there covering events live (I will update this post with some examples). But they don’t get much braver than Mark Stone:

Now, tonight, two maps have been created where you can follow reports of where incidents are happening. I have to say I am in two minds about posting this. On the one hand I’m not posting it to get traffic to this site (at times like this, who cares). But I am posting it in case it is of help to anyone caught up in the violence or, understandably, wanting to avoid it.

The first is a map put together by James Cridland. It’s a map of the UK which he says shows “affected areas (since Saturday but mostly tonight, Monday), with sources where appropriate”. So far it includes incidents in London and Birmingham.

You can Tweet @jamescridland with a “verifiable source”, which is presumably something like a tweet from a journalist or person on the ground. Click on the image for the map.

The second is a map which, although less useful, does illustrate the extent of public feeling about the whole thing. It just shows Tweets with a UK postcode and the #londonriots tag. In some ways it may also ‘map’ live incidents but in my opinion it would need a better method to do that. Click on the image.

And a new one has appeared here.

Stay safe people.