Project background

globalpulse edited this page Jul 18, 2011 · 10 revisions

What is Hunchworks?

HunchWorks is software to support a worldwide informal human sensor network that allows local government, UN agencies, community groups, academia and citizens to contribute meaningful information and analysis to a user 'hunch' that something significant might be happening in the world (e.g. a food crisis affecting a specific area or a financial crisis affecting a specific part of a population).

The hunch mechanisms works as follows:

  • A user proposes a hypothesis
  • The user attaches evidence (datasets, video, photos, audio, anecdotes, tweets etc.) to the hunch
  • The user shares the hunch with all or part of the network
  • Invited users can then comment or vote on the hunch, or on individual pieces of evidence, supply new evidence or suggest experts with specific expertise for the hunch owner to invite into the conversation.
  • The hunch evolves through the contributions and conversations until there is a consensus that it is confirmed or refuted. Alternatively, the hunch originator may determine when the hypothesis is mature enough for action. We have been in heavy discussion about the exact nature of a “proven” hunch and it is likely that this model will remain flexible to encourage debate and to make the tool as useful as possible.
  • Where appropriate, actions taken on the basis of the hunch may also be recorded


  • Hunchworks was an idea first mooted at UN Global Pulse's PulseCamp 1.0 in December 2010, and was based itself on an earlier idea by Ka-Ping Ye.
  • We built an early version of Hunchworks in Ruby in May 2011.
  • In June 2011, Adaptive Path started working on the Hunchworks design, and we started coding up those designs using Python and Django.


The target users of Hunchworks are:

  • Pulselab analysts - primary users of this system
  • Crisismappers - could use hunchworks during deployments

System Environment

We're building HunchShare as part of the UN Global Pulse vulnerability monitoring toolkit. It needs to be compatible with the Global Pulse Platform (Oliver) and its user management tools, and with the other tools contained in the toolkit.

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