Instead of the usual depiction of conflicts as countrywide and defined by national boundaries, this map displays distinct conflict-affected areas in Africa as sub-national and transnational pockets of insecurity, violence, and armed aggression. Areas of conflict were drawn around locations of reported conflict incidents in 2007 and 2008, as well as concentrations of internally displaced persons and cross-border rebel bases and refugee camps in neighboring countries.
This depiction of areas of conflict more accurately displays where conflict has been occurring in Africa and the sub-national and transnational nature of these conflicts. In a follow-on project, this new visualization will be used to analyze the relationship between conflict and geo-spatial factors that are also not related to national boundaries, such as topography, natural resources, demographic distributions, and climatic hazards.
A PDF of the map below is available here.
The map categorizes conflict-affected areas into three types of conflict:
Armed Conflict, Inter-communal Strife, and Political Violence. In many cases, armed conflicts and political violence are based on inter-communal strife. The locations of violent food riots, pirate attacks (as of October 2008) and targeted attacks associated with terrorism during 2007-2008 have also been plotted on this map. Disputed border conflicts are also identified on this map.
As I have suggested in earlier blogs, I continue to be surprised that crisis maps are still shared as PDFs or JPGs. The above data should be made available in KML with a simple interface that enables users to query the data they are visualizing. At the very minimum, we should be able to visualize the data over time. I find static data less and less compelling in the context of crisis mapping.
For a Google Earth Layer of the above map, please see my follow up blog post.