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Geographic Visualization
of Armed Conflicts

ViewConflicts is a software continuously developed at Department of Geography, NTNU. It visualizes armed conflicts between 1946 and 2004.

Analysis of the causes of armed conflict is fundamental to peace and conflict research. Recently, the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, (PRIO) and the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, in collaboration with the Department of Sociology and Political Science (ISS) and the Department of Geography at NTNU, have established a database on armed conflicts from 1946 and up to day. The conflict data will be updated in Uppsala on an annual basis, while PRIO will maintain the database. As of March 2006 there are 229 armed conflicts registered in the database for the period 1946-2004. The database includes both international (interstate) and internal conflicts (civil wars). The definition of armed conflict follows that of the Uppsala Conflict Data Project The threshold for inclusion of a conflict (25 annual battle-deaths) is lower than in most comparable datasets.

The collaborating partners at NTNU have contributed to the database data for the geographical center of each conflict as well as a measure of the geographical extension of the conflict. A pair of latitude and longitude co-ordinates is registered for each conflict making it possible to map the conflicts. A radius represents the conflict's extension.

Based on this dataset on armed conflict as well as data on probable conflict-generating factors (such as poverty, poor governance, lootable resources, violent history, etc.), we will try to obtain a better understanding of how conflicts originate, spread, and end. Our work on this project has been supported by, among others, NTNU, The Research Council of Norway and the Development Research Group at the World Bank.

Knowledge of the causes and dynamics of conflicts is essential for conflict resolution and conflict prevention. Although each conflict has its own dynamics and each region its own history, there are many common factors. To come to grips with how conflicts emerge, spread, and end - the analysis should take into account both the temporal and spatial components. Within this interdisciplinary cooperation the Department of Geography contributes with implementation of tools for geographic visualization of conflicts that are registered in the database. In addition, future work will include tools for spatial analysis in order to study relationships between, on the one hand, the locations for and durations of conflicts with, on the other hand, the temporal and spatial presence of conflict-generating factors.

Assosiates:
PRIO: Nils Petter Gleditsch
ISS: Halvard Buhaug
Geography: Jan Ketil Rød
Economics: Pivi Lujala
Uppsala: Peter Wallensteen
Margareta Sollenberg

Contact address:
Jan Ketil Rød

Department of Geography, NTNU
N-7491 Trondheim
Norway