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What happens when you apply tech to a global humanitarian crisis?

For Road Trip 2016, I sent the CNET News team around the world to see firsthand the role technology is playing in the global humanitarian crisis. We call this series Life, Disrupted. After reading our stories, you'll see why.

James Martin/CNET

Tech makes it easy for journalists to report on happenings halfway around the world without ever leaving our desks. We call, email, text and video conference with sources. We scan photos and watch videos of events as they happen on Twitter and Facebook. Every day we dive deep into the well of digital data to break news or advance stories.

These amazing tools lead to amazing reporting. But sometimes a story comes along that demands we go out into the world to see firsthand what's happening behind the tweets, likes, Instagrams, snaps and video streams.

For our Road Trip 2015 summer special report, I asked reporters to hunt for innovation outside the bubble of Silicon Valley. Their dispatches from Ho Chi Minh City, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Detroit, Minneapolis, Chattanooga and San Diego, among other places, gave us the chance to tell compelling stories about people doing compelling work. Many of you wrote to tell me how much you appreciated those adventures.

For Road Trip 2016, I wanted the CNET News team to tackle a bigger story. I knew what that story should be last September, the day I saw the photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lying lifeless on a beach in Turkey. Aylan, along with his mother and 5-year-old brother, drowned after their boat capsized while trying to cross to the island of Kos in Greece. I wondered if tech -- which lets us accomplish almost anything we can think of -- is also helping refugees and migrants find a safe place to live.

That's the question we set out to answer with this year's special report. More than a dozen reporters, photographers and videographers traveled thousands of miles to see for themselves how phones, mobile apps, video chat, fingerprint recognition, social media -- and the tech companies that make them -- are helping tackle this global humanitarian crisis. If at all.

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Charging stations have become gathering places for refugees and migrants, who talk and smoke while their devices power up.

James Martin/CNET

We talked to displaced migrants of all ages, interviewed government officials, met with UN representatives and spent time with the people working on the ground to solve problems. Our travels include stops in Lesbos, Paris, Calais, London, Stockholm, Helsinki, Munich, Berlin, Budapest, Belgrade, Sydney and many places in between. We also talked to groups who've helped some refugees settle in the US.

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Phones and translation apps aren't a nicety for refugees and migrants. They're a necessity.

James Martin

That reporting is now being assembled into the features, photo galleries and videos for our special report Life, Disrupted: Road Trip 2016. The monthlong series begins Aug. 3 with dispatches from Greece, where more than 856,000 migrants crossed into Europe last year on their way to destinations like Germany, France and Sweden. We'll tell readers about life in the refugee camps of northern France, Australia's secretive detention centers, Germany's challenges, and how the tech industry in Sweden and Finland is helping immigrants begin new lives.

I hope you find the stories as compelling as we did reporting on them.