Myanmar Conflict Map by Brody Smith
On 1 February 2021, Myanmar's decade-long transition to democracy was upended when the military overthrew the government. This coup triggered nationwide protests by the pro-democracy public, who have since formed over one thousand regional armed resistance groups to fight the military junta.
The conflict in Myanmar is prolonged and increasingly complex, with ongoing cases of violent crackdowns, internet blackouts, the use of remote explosives and drones, destruction of villages, weapons supply, politicking of ethnic armed groups, population displacement and humanitarian concerns, and condemnation and sanctions by the international community.
The Myanmar Conflict Map uses data visualisation, digital cartography, and detailed graphical analyses to help the public and policy-makers understand all aspects of the evolving civil war.
The platform has two primary features to achieve this:
1) A unique data dashboard that visualises 20,000+ violent events across the country. We implemented a highly optimised, custom HTML canvas to render the events on a map, allowing smooth animations across the time series and between geographic areas. Accompanying charts update with the map in realtime to any applied data filters. To address issues of location precision in the source data, and to reveal overlapping data points, we scattered events within the bounds of their township. This creates a dot-density map that shows the evolution of the conflict in a novel way.
2) Rich visual analyses that focus on specific themes or geographic regions. Long-form publications and brief monthly updates are seamlessly packed with dynamic and interactive maps and data visualisations to maximise engagement and understanding.
The platform was first published online in June 2022, but we completed a design overhaul and publication push from April 2023.
We used multiple data sources, the primary one being The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). Our team developed novel methods to categorise and present this data which enriches the available insights and storytelling, while addressing its shortcomings, ultimately informing government strategy and building awareness of the under-told situation in Myanmar.
CreditsDr Shona Loong – Designed the methodology and data codebook. Authored analyses. Morgan Michaels – Oversees research and production of the platform. Commissions, edits and writes analyses. Aaron Connelly – Inaugural project lead. Editor. Dr Evan A. Laksmana – Research advisor. Stephen Hutchings – Map implementation consultancy.