Watching War: Online Mapmakers Chart Syrian Conflict
Amateur cartographers report on the shifting battle lines to create maps that are among the most accurate and up-to-date reports on the hostilities.
Thousands of miles from the bloodshed in Syria, Robert Cross works at his computer in his home an hour west of Toronto gathering information from online and on-the-ground sources to chart the progress of the combatants.
A 33-year-old neuroscientist, Cross has become an unlikely source of expertise about the civil war, the result of a consuming passion for making and collecting maps. The digital maps that he creates in his spare time are followed, shared and tweeted by a global audience.
“It’s an enormous amount of time to put in to get anything done, sadly, and it's quite a commitment,” Cross said. “I would say I’ve spent at least a couple thousand hours on it, researching, talking to people in Syria over