Journalist Resource July 13, 2022

Rainforest Reporting Toolkit


We have prepared a Rainforest Toolkit that can be useful in your reporting and investigations. 

The information is sorted by themes of interest.

One general super tool:

OpenRefine is helpful for working with messy data: cleaning it, transforming it from one format into another, and extending it with web services and external data. It’s available in 15 languages. 

  1. Geolocation:
  • A truck driver told you that he is going to get soybeans in a field 30 minutes away? With this tool, we have a rough idea of where they could be: app.traveltime.com.
  • Global Forest Watch will help you explore interactive charts and maps that summarize key statistics about global forests. 
  • Digital Globe provides high-quality satellite images.
  • Maphub provides analysis of satellite images and logging roads.
  • Satellites.pro often has better imagery than Google Earth with no sign-in needed.
  • Flightradar24 allows you to track planes.
  • Marine Traffic allows you to track ships in real time.
  • [Africa] Digital Earth Africa offers quality satellite imagery from Africa.
  • [Africa] The Congo Basin Atlas Forestier contains a list of all forest concessions, the names of the companies, and the capital behind these concessions and companies.
  • [Africa] Forest Link Community Alert Map collects community-led alerts of illegal logging, mining, and other destructive activities.
  • DOPA Explorer offers you a user-friendly catalog of internationally protected areas.
  • [Brazil] TerraBrasilis provides many maps that show the Brazilian territory in-depth.
  • [Mekong] Mekong Dam Monitor monitors dams and environmental impacts in the Mekong Basin.
  • Google Earth Engine can quickly process vast amounts of satellite image data.
  1. Keep your findings:
  • Archive every page you find something useful on. It doesn't matter if it's a tiny snippet of info. When you need to cite it and find it has been deleted, you've lost a lead: archive.org/web/.
  1. Social Media:
  • Birdhunt.co is an easy way to find tweets around a location of interest.
  1. Do you have a photograph as your lead?:
  • Geolocation Estimation is a deep learning tool trained on geotagged images.
  • Calculator.ipvm.com is great when it comes to image forensics. With it, you can obtain information on the image based on camera characteristics, or the inverse.
  • PimEyes is a powerful face recognition tool.
  1. Track fires, gas, timber, and more:
  • FIRMS is a great tool for tracking heat signatures, normally fires.
  • SkyTruth Flaring Map database produces near real-time maps of gas flaring around the globe.
  • Timber Trade Portal allows you to track forestry sectors, legal frameworks, trade flow, and major companies.
  1. Business:
  • The UN Comtrade Database has free access to detailed global trade data.
  • Sedar will help you search for company and investment fund documents.
  • oec.world allows you to visualize, understand, and interact with the latest international trade data.
  • Land Matrix is for people interested in land deals.
  • OCCRP Aleph is for investigations about corruption.
  • Sayari is for connecting business dots.
  • OpenCorporates is the largest open database of companies in the world.
  • Panjiva is a platform that’s bringing transparency to global trade. 
  • OpenSanctions helps journalists find persons of interest. 
  • Global environment climate tracker has analysis and dashboards for different types of international environmental crimes.
  • TRAFFIC’s learning center provides tools and online courses to help understand illegal wildlife trade. 
  • worldtradestats.com should be able to offer any country’s import and export data.
  • A document for people interested in tracing Chinese business. 
  • SEC can help with a company's data, transactions and more.

Last observations:

If you have questions or would like to recommend unlisted tools that facilitate reporting, please feel free to contact Fernanda at [email protected]