A closer look at world terrorism data

James Risner on 30|01|2014
Filled under: Assignment5


I’ve worked for this assignment on updating and improving my assignment 4.  I felt that there was a lot more detail the sketch could go into and a lot of functionality which hadn’t yet been explored.  The primary aim of this sketch was to provide a tool to explore the data, rather than presenting my slant upon the data.  For this reason, the maximum user functionality has been sought through adding lots of control elements.

The main updates and additions to this sketch:

  • Replaced interactive map with static images, speeds the code up significantly
  • Created ‘regional’ views so that you can zoom in on various parts of the world
  • added a trail aspect to the plotting, so that you can see all the incidents over a given time period (see screenshot above)
  • moved the slider onto the main display and made it a range slider
  • added a search box to locate specific events
  • made the bar chart responsive to region, start and end year

The most difficult challenge on this sketch was nesting selection criteria so that for each regional view, only that regions events would be cycled through.  Although I succeeded in this, I did not manage to include a further nest of ‘search’.  So the search only functions within the world view.  Overall however I’m very happy with this sketch and the way it allows you to explore large scale patterns while also examining specific details of an event.  This database is enormous but also fascinating, there are a lot of really interesting stories buried in the data.

I have included a few examples just in case your interested:

“6/9/1970: Unknown perpetrators fired two shotgun blasts into the house of Reverend Levin P. West in Newark- New Jersey- United States- in an apparent assassination attempt.  The shotgun pellets did not strike West but he was taken to  the hospital to be treated for shock.  During a highly contentious Mayoral campaign in Newark with racial overtones- West- an African American- supported the White candidate over the Black candidate.”

“6/18/1970: While New York City Firemen were fighting a blaze in a Manhattan- United States tenement- an unknown perpetrator threw a Molotov cocktail into the hose bed of the fire truck.  The attack injured one fireman and another fireman suffered a heart attack.  Officials were unsure whether the fire at the tenement was set to trap the firemen or if the truck was attacked because it was a ‘target of opportunity.’”

“7/24/1970: Members of the Jewish Defense League failed in their attempts to firebomb a Black Community Center in Brooklyn- New York- United States.  This incident occurred four days after the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council in Brooklyn was firebombed by suspected African American militants.”

Zipped processing file:


A Video of the sketch in action can be found at:


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