August 21, 2010

Visualisation of Activity in Afghanistan using the Wikileaks data by Mike Dewar

by Mike Dewar

Visualisation of Activity in Afghanistan using the Wikileaks data from Mike Dewar on Vimeo.

This is a visualisation of activity in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009 based on the Wikileaks data set. Here we're thinking of activity as the number of events logged in a small region of the map over a 1 month window. These events consist of all the different types of activity going on in Afghanistan.

The intensity of the heatmap represents the number of events logged. The colour range is from 0 to 60+ events over a one month window. We cap the colour range at 60 events so that low intensity activity involving just a handful of events can be seen - in lots of cases there are many more than 60 events in one particular region. The heatmap is constructed for every day in the period from 2004-2009, and the movie runs at 10 days per second.

The orange lines represent the major roads in Afghanistan, and the black outlines are the individual administrative regions.

The R code used to generate this movie, and more information about this project and its authors, can be found online and open-source at The majority of this work was done at the August hackathon in NYC, by Mike Dewar (Columbia Engineering), Drew Conway (NYU Politics), John Myles White (Princeton Psychology) and Harlan Harris (Kaplan).