Mexico Science & Technology News

Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

  News &
Issues &
Business &
Health &
Lifestyle &
Travel &
Science &

Machine Learning Is Being Used to Uncover the Mass Graves of Mexico's Missing

Mimi Onuoha - Quartz
go to original
April 19, 2017

A view of mass grave site on the outskirts of Veracruz city, Veracruz state (AFP/Ilse Huesca)

In March of this year, a massive grave was uncovered buried beneath the soil of the coastal Mexican state of Veracruz. The grave made national headlines because it contained more than 240 skulls and corpses, the remains of disappeared people.

But for many, the grave’s existence came as no surprise. In Mexico, a country where almost 30,000 people have gone missing due to drug-related violence since 2006, the grave was a reminder of a difficult reality: the search for missing people often begins by looking underground.

Mexico is home to over 122 million people and spans more than 750,000 square miles of land. There is no road map that makes clear where to start the search for mass graves, or the bodies of the disappeared (desaparecidos) that they hold.

Or at least there hasn’t been - until now. A team of multi-country researchers, data scientists, and statisticians is using machine learning to predict which counties in Mexico are most likely to have hidden graves. If their model works as well as they hope, it will be a powerful application of an emerging technology that provide answers to one of the most difficult aspects of the desaparecidos problem: knowing where to look.

The team is composed of three separate groups: the Programa de Derechos Humanos at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City; data-focused non-profit Data Cívica, also based in Mexico City; and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), a San Francisco-based organization that applies scientific analysis to human rights violations.

Each organization contributes a unique piece of analysis or data which together form a fuller picture of where to search. The group at the Ibero-American University has been scraping local and national Mexican newspaper and radio data for mentions of hidden graves for years as part of a larger project. They’ve created a comprehensive database of the details behind every report of a hidden grave. It’s the country’s first database of the sort, and it’s a crucial bank of knowledge that details in which municipalities hidden graves have been discovered in the past.

Data Cívica contributes data on social demographics about every municipio, or county, in the country. By combining Mexico’s public open data system with geographic data, they’ve been able to create a detailed profile of sociodemographic data for every one of Mexico’s 2457 counties.

These two pieces are crucial to the machine learning model that HRDAG uses to predict which counties are likely to have hidden graves in them.

Read the rest at Quartz

Related: Modeling the Location of Hidden Graves in Mexico (HRDAG)

We invite you to add your charity or supporting organizations' news stories and coming events to PVAngels so we can share them with the world. Do it now!

CHARITY ALERT Vallarta Botanical Garden Needs Your Help

TripAdvisor singled out the Botanical Garden for removal and placed us on our own page in Cabo Corrientes.

Please write and ask TripAdvisor why all other Cabo Corrientes attractions are still on the Puerto Vallarta page while only the Garden was removed.

Click here to see all the details

Meet the Charities

Community Services


Animals & Wildlife

Health Care

Youth & Family


Culture & Recreation

Special Interests

How You Can Help

Use Your Powers for Good

Add Your Favorite Charity

Save a Life - Give Blood


Partners for Change

Meet the Partners

Become a Partner for Change

Stay Connected

Find PVAngels on Facebook Follow PVAngels on Twitter Sign up PVAngels Newsletter RSS Feeds on PVAngels


About PVAngels

Add Your Charity

Add Your News & Events

Locate Yourself on Our Maps

Jobs - Join PVAngels Team

About Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta Local News

Local Event Calendar

Puerto Vallarta Videos

Puerto Vallarta Photos

Historic Puerto Vallarta

Local Area Maps

Important Phone Numbers

Craig's List in Puerto Vallarta

News Around Mexico

Mexico Issues & Opinions

Mexico Business News

Mexico Evironmental News

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Mexico Travel & Outdoors

Science & Technology News

Mexico News & Travel Videos

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

m3 • local actions from global awareness