Missing Migrants Project: Tracking lives lost during migration


This International Migrants Day we took at look at the IOM's displacement data and tracking projects.

The Missing Migrants Project is an initative by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that tracks the deaths of migrants, as well as people who have gone missing along migratory routes worldwide. The research behind the project began in 2013, with the Lampedusa tragedies, and since then the Missing Migrants Project has developed into an important hub of data and information on migrant, refugees, and the protection issues behind these movements.

The project includes an infographics section, where data is broken down by route, origin, transit country, and more; as well as an interactive multi-layered map that draws data out in relation to the European Crisis specifically.


Image: A screenshot of the platform, illustrating migrant transit routes.

According to Deborah Gonzalez Tejero, from the Displacement Tracking Matrix's support team, "by connecting the dots and bringing together different layers of data in a visual manner, we aim to highlight potential root causes as well as inform humanitarian actors and policy makers on priority needs."

"Providing a sound understanding of how the mobility patterns develop should contribute to a better targeted response at the policy and operational level."

Missing Migrants Project uses statistical data from governments and sources other agencies, as well as NGOs and media. Specific data on Iraqi and Syrian migrants are derived from their respective displacement tracking matrices.

The platform is powered by ESRI, and the IOM also works with SAS for data analysis and identification of trends.

To explain why a multi-layered platform was chosen to visualize the project's data, Gonzalez Tejero said that, by incorporating different tabs and layers, the IOM is able to "to put into perspective different strands of information related to [the] situation in country of origin, transit and intended destination".

"Hence the different layers, showing for example internal displacement patterns in countries of origin as captured through IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix," she explained, "different thematic tabs allow us to highlight various areas of interest, all with the goal of fostering a deeper understanding of displacement and human mobility patterns".

"The main objective for the project relates to identification of needs and possible initiatives addressing route causes at countries of origin."

Explore the project further here.