Now that North Korea is claiming to have officially tested a weapon in a bid to be recognized as a legitimate nuclear power, average citizens who are interested in science have provided digital evidence to a wide Internet audience that the test by the Pyongyang government did indeed take place, based on data from earthquake sensors. Boing Boing has assembled several of the reports here. This demonstrates the importance of the niche of professional amateurs who know how to use the USGS database, Google Earth, and other widely available tools for interpreting digital evidence about literally earth-shaking events. The news media picked up their coverage almost immediately. A similar group of map and data-savvy netizens has concerned themselves with global warming, but they may get less media response.
For more on geopolitics, context mapping, and information design check out these three interesting reality checks: One Million Ways to Die, Miniature Earth, and The Budget Graph.