I just finished reading “Illuminating the Path: The Research and Development Agenda for Virtual Analytics.” The National Visualization and Analytics Center (NVACs) published the 200-page book in 2004 and the volume is absolutely one of the best treaties I’ve come across on the topic yet. The purpose of this series of posts that follow is to share some highlights and excerpts relevant for crisis mapping.
Co-edited by James Thomas and Kristin Cook, the book focuses specifically on homeland security but there are numerous insights to be gained on how “virtual analytics” can also illuminate the path for crisis mapping analytics. Recall that the field of conflict early warning originated in part from World War II and the lack of warning during Pearl Harbor.
Several coordinated systems for the early detection of a Soviet bomber attack on North America were set up in the early days of the Cold War. The Distant Early Warning Line, or Dew Line, was the most sophisticated of these. The point to keep in mind is that the national security establishment is often in the lead when it comes to initiatives that can also be applied for humanitarian purposes.
The motivation behind the launching of NVACs and this study was 9/11. In my opinion, this volume goes a long way to validating the field of crisis mapping. I highly recommend it to colleagues in both the humanitarian and human rights communities. In fact, the book is directly relevant to my current consulting work with the UN’s Threat and Risk Mapping Analysis (TRMA) project in the Sudan.
So this week, iRevolution will be dedicated to sharing daily higlights from the NVAC study. Taken together, these posts will provide a good summary of the rich and in-depth 200-page study. So check back here post for live links to NVAC highlights:
Note that the sequence above does not correspond to specific individual chapters in the NVAC study. This structure for the summary is what made most sense.