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)
Take note at how the filtered range affects the visualization.
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.
Each stripe was assigned a random RGB value as its color.
Random color with smaller range of values selected, so that the overall coloring is softer.
The random generator was adjusted to generate a stronger blue and green, and less red. When the user hovers the mouse pointer over a stripe, the stripe is highlighted with a yellow border. If the overall coloring is skewed towards blue and green, a red or yellow highlighting is more conspicuous than when the coloring is random.
The 1993 data was treated as all 0. This sends a strong message to the user that the 1993 data is missing. This design was not used because it may lead users to focus on the anomaly, rather than the overall trend.
Countries within the same region were colored similarly. This is particularly useful when moving between the 'Region' view and the 'Country Attacked' view.
Each stripe has a white lines along the borders.
The borders have lower alpha values.
Each region uses it's predetermined color, instead of a randomly generated one.
Joonghoon Lee (main contact)