Exploring Global Terrorism Data:
A Web-based Visualization of Temporal Data


The GTD Explorer is a web-based interactive visual exploratory tool that uses START's Global Terrorism Database. It takes key variables in the database and allows them to be visualized in data streams - the larger the number of attacks, or the number of weapons, the larger the stream. It counts the number of incidents grouped over a certain criteria, and stack charts on top of each other to see both individual and accumulated patterns of incidents over time. In this way, it is possible to see very rapidly how different units of analysis contribute to total outcomes.

Link to GTD Explorer

Link to paper (html)

GTD Explorer in Action

Text Based Filter
The search box allows the user to filter out based on text
(left) Countries view filtered by 's' in the search box
(right) Countries starting with 'south'

Rank Based Filter
The rank based filter control is a vertical slider that has as many ticks as items in the visualization. This allows to filter out stripes that have a total count of incidents that falls outside the range of the filter control. The numbers on the slider represent the rank of the total count of incidents.

Take note at how the filtered range affects the visualization.

Full Range

Top 20%

Bottom 80%

Various Design Decisions

While building the GTD Explorer, several small and large design decisions were made. Below are some of the different designs that were tried, mostly reflecting coloring decisions.


Joonghoon Lee (main contact)

Ben Shneiderman

Web Accessibility