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250 million protests worldwide visualized in one time-lapse (1979 – 2013)

250-million-protests-worldwide-visualized-in-one-time-lapse-1979-2013

Pennsylvania State University doctoral candidate John Beieler has created a time-lapse visualization that shows all global protest activity from 1979-2013. Beieler used monthly data available at GDELT (The Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone) – an initiative to construct a catalog of human societal-scale behavior and beliefs across all countries of the world over the last two centuries down to the city level.

Use your mouse scroll wheel or the zoom buttons at the top to interactively zoom all the way down to see micro-level clusters and the spatial distribution or zoom out to see macro-level patterns, including key focal areas.

On his website, Beieler notes:

The number of events recorded in GDELT grows exponentially over time, as noted in the paper introducing the dataset. This means that over time there appears to be a steady increase in events, but this should not be mistaken as a rise in the actual amount of behavior X (protest behavior in this case). Instead, due to changes in reporting and the digital recording of news stories, it is simply the case that there are more events of every type over time. In some preliminary work that is not yet publicly released, protest behavior seems to remain relatively constant over time as a percentageof the total number of events. This means that while there was an explosion of protest activity in the Middle East, and elsewhere, during the past few years, identifying visible patterns is a tricky endeavor due to the nature of the underlying data.

Map animation credit John Beieler.

Featured image: Demonstrasjon mot Warszawapaktens invasjon av Tsjekkoslovakia (1968) by http://www.flickr.com/photos/29160242@N08/9653879086

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