Monday, May 04, 2009

The Bloody Borders Project Revisited

A little over three years ago I completed the Bloody Borders Project and Dymphna posted about it here at Gates of Vienna. The original Flash animation was huge and unwieldy, but earlier today Vlad Tepes kindly upgraded it to YouTube for us, so that I can embed it here:

The preparations for the final animation (covering the period from 9-11-2001 to 2-22-2006)took nearly four months to complete. The incident data used for the images was provided by The Religion of Peace, but the biggest job was to find each location and supply the longitude and latitude coordinates for it. The rest of the work involved writing the image-creation software and preparing the background images.
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My original plan was to revisit the data and update the information and the images every month or so, but this proved unworkable. Much of the process was automated, but the most time-consuming part was finding all the place names on a map. The Falling Rain website was immensely helpful, especially when supplemented with additional online maps, but given the remote locations and all the variant spellings, each data point could take up to ten or fifteen minutes to plot.

All Islamic terror attacks from 9-11-2001 to 2-22-2006
Islamic terror attacks since 9-11

Do you know how many tiny hamlets there are in Kashmir alone?

There have been thousands of Islamic terrorist attacks since then, so the task is now simply too daunting to undertake. At about the same time that I finished the project, Gates of Vienna became more well-known (or notorious, if you prefer), and this increased the amount of time it took to maintain our blog, reducing my spare time even further.

As a result, I had to put the Bloody Borders Project on the shelf. But I didn’t forget about it.

Today our distributed network is much larger than it was back then, so I’m hoping to get some help with updating the project. Here’s the bleg:

1. Does anyone know of a locating application that can pin latitude and longitude to a given place name?
2. If #1 becomes doable, and the data can be obtained, can anyone help with assigning the coordinates to each location?

I can supply database structure and data when required, and the software is already written to process the information. But I no longer have the spare time to do that kind of data entry work myself, unfortunately.

If anybody has any ideas or services to offer, please give me a shout [unspiek (at)] or leave a comment.


Abu Abdullah said...

Take a look at this page, the author of which suggests using Google Earth. Google Maps and Google Earth are your (and Jihadists') best friends.

Abu Abdullah said...

This one, based on Google Earth, is ready-made and even better.

Baron Bodissey said...

Abu Abdullah --

This is a good application, and an improvement over Falling Rain, but it still leaves me with the task of pasting in each of thousands of place names and then copying out the co-ordinates. That is only slightly less of an enormous task than I faced using the old methods.

What I need is an application that can process place names in bulk, including (one hopes) the variant spellings, and assign the coordinates to them. This task may become really difficult in areas like Kashmir, in which the same or nearly the same name can appear in dozens of places.

Failing the above, I would need someone else to do all the time-consuming one-name-at-a-time data gathering, because I most definitely no longer have that much spare time myself.

Abu Abdullah said...

Find someone with Web programming experience to hack the HTML of the site above in order to automate the place name-to-coordinates conversion process. Doing it manually when there are many place names is a real pain.

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Baron, this is an interesting animation, but it seems to begin in February 2003 (2003-02) . . . at least on the You Tube version that I see.

Jeffery Hodges

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Baron Bodissey said...

Jeffery --

Yes, you're right. Then it loops back and starts over at 9-11.

I'll ask Vlad if he can do anything about it. Such things are beyond my limited skills.

Baron Bodissey said...

OK, thanks to Vlad it should be fixed now.