What is it: Swarmize is a data collection tool for journalists. It is currently available in Alpha, as a platform for Guardian staff members or freely available as code on Github for any users to fork and create their own version. Swarmize launched recently and has been supported through development by the Guardian and through a grant from the Knights News Challenge.
Use for News: Swarmize aims to make data gathering a more accessible journalistic tool with simple, customizable surveys and the ability to display real-time results in straightforward graphs and charts. It can be used for making simple surveys but is also designed to be able to handle large volumes of data and to accept multiple responses from polled users. This means it can be used to offer real time feedback during live debates on T.V or online. As a platform in development, proven usage is a bit thin on the ground as yet, but you can view the results of a real world use during the Scottish Referendum debate when it was used to collect, survey and visualise the mood of Twitter users.
Upside: It’s free, seems easy to use and is highly adaptable.
Downside: The graphs are currently somewhat basic and are not intended for publication, but they do offer a useful and understadable graphic display of collected information for the user.