Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Google Maps Go to War


Conflict History is a timeline and Google Map of all the world's conflicts. The timeline starts with the Kurukshetra War of 3000 BC and maps all the world's conflicts to the present day.

A sliding timeline runs along the bottom of the map. To load the conflicts for any period the user just needs to scroll the sidebar to the relevant date. The conflicts for that period are then shown on the Google Map with red circular map markers and also listed in the map sidebar.


The Washington Post Civil War Map shows all the battles and casualties of the American Civil War. The map features an animated time-line that allows you to watch the war unfold over time. You can pause the animation at any time and you can also refine the view to show any period of time.

If you roll over the circular markers you can view the date and the casualties of the mapped battle. If you click on a marker you can read a more detailed account of the battle.


The Stanford Visualisation Group's 'Protovis' is an open source graphical tool for visualising data. The Protovis website includes a couple of examples of the tool using Google Maps, including this map of
Minard's Flow Map of Napolean's Russian Campaign.

Charkes Minard was a pioneer of the use of graphics in engineering and statistics. Probably his most famous creation was this flow map showing Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812. His map displays:
  • the army's location and direction, showing where units split off and rejoined
  • the declining size of the army
  • the freezing temperatures during the retreat
The Protovis map of Minard's visualisation of the Russian Campaign adds interactivity using the Google Maps API.


Timeline Projects has created three interactive mapped timelines. The three timelines cover World Wars I & II and the American Civil War.

All three maps use the open source Simile Timeline. The site includes Wiki style editing of the maps so that users can  add conflict events to any of the maps.
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