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The GDELT Project is an initiative to construct a catalog of human societal-scale behavior and beliefs across all countries of the world, connecting every person, organization, location, count, theme, news source, and event across the planet into a single massive network that captures what's happening around the world, what its context is and who's involved, and how the world is feeling about it, every single day.
GDELT monitors the world's news media from nearly every corner of every country
in print, broadcast, and web formats, in over 100 languages, every moment of every day.
The GDELT Event Database records over 300 categories of physical activities around the world, from riots and protests to peace appeals and diplomatic exchanges, georeferenced to the city or mountain top, across the entire planet dating back to January 1, 1979 and updated every 15 minutes.
Essentially it takes a sentence like "The United States criticized Russia yesterday for deploying its troops in Crimea, in which a recent clash with its soldiers left 10 civilians injured" and transforms this blurb of unstructured text into three structured database entries, recording US CRITICIZES RUSSIA, RUSSIA TROOP-DEPLOY UKRAINE (CRIMEA), and RUSSIA MATERIAL-CONFLICT CIVILIANS (CRIMEA).
Nearly 60 attributes are captured for each event, including the approximate location of the action and those involved. This translates the textual descriptions of world events captured in the news media into codified entries in a grand "global spreadsheet."