How to use the Chaos Map

The Chaos Map gives global and country-specific views of unrest linked to natural resource insecurity.

There are several ways to navigate the Map, obtain data and get an impression of the pattern and intensity of unrest over time. This page gives a brief overview of its main features.

How to get started (if you're in a rush!)

When you first visit the Chaos Map, we recommend:

  • using the time slider to get an over-arching impression of patterns and levels of unrest over time
  • using the zoom functionality to explore a specific area of the world, or country, that's of interest to you. Then use the time slider to get a more localised view of unrest in this area, over time
  • click on individual countries to view data for a particular year
  • when in country-view use the <- Chaos Map link at the top of your screen to return to the global view and search again. 

Time slider

The Chaos Map presents data from 2005–2017. Underneath the Map, you'll see a time slider: slide this to the left to move back through the years; slide it to the right to move forward in time again.

Digital 'time slider' with the year 2014 highlighted

When you first visit the Map, the default view you'll see is of 2017, the most recent, full year for which we have data.

Colour key

We use a colour key to give an at-a-glance indication of the intensity of chaos, as measured by the number of deaths in a country in any given year.

Colour key for data in an online map, ranging from grey through to red

Like the time slider, the colour key appears underneath the Map. It ranges from grey to red.

  • Grey = 0 deaths
  • Dark blue = 1 death
  • Light blue = 2-3 deaths
  • Yellow = 4-20 deaths
  • Orange = 21-50 deaths
  • Red = 51+ deaths

Global view

When you first visit the Chaos Map, you'll see a global view.

Map of the world with some countries highlighted in different colours

If you're on a desktop, use the zoom function on the left-hand side of the Map to zoom in on a specific area of the world, or individual country. (You can also use it to zoom out, and return to the global view.)

If you're using a mobile device, simply use your in-built zoom functionality.

Once you've zoomed in, use the compass tool to move left, right, up or down. Alternatively, use your computer mouse or your device's controls to navigate around the Map.

Country view

If a country appears in blue, yellow, orange or red it will have experienced episodes of unrest linked to resource shortage. Click on the country to reveal data specifics.

Map of Sudan with statistics describing incidents of unrest in the country

Once you've clicked on a country, use the <- Chaos Map link at the top of your screen to return to the original, global view and search again.

Or, stay on your selected country and use the time slider to see incidents of unrest between 2005–2017.

Dialogue box

When you click on a particular country, a small grey dialogue box will appear displaying data for a specific year.

It will show the total number of chaos events, or deaths, for a given year. You can view the data in two ways. Deaths linked to:

  • Resource (food, fuel, water)
  • Unrest (the type of unrest that led to one or more deaths; we record data for conflict, demonstrations, looting, protest, riot, and suicide).
Composite image: a small grey box displaying a figure of 30 deaths in 2013; two menus titled Resource and Unrest

By default, you will see the type of resource shortage that deaths were linked to. For example, there may be 25 deaths overall, with five linked to water shortages and 20 linked to food shortages.

You can toggle to a second menu, called Unrest. This will show you exactly how the recorded deaths occurred. For example, all 25 deaths occurred during rioting.

Deaths may be linked to more than one type of unrest and, potentially, to more than one resource – for example, deaths may have occurred as a result of looting and riots linked to both food and fuel shortages.

In both of these views the type of resource or the type of unrest associated with a data point are represented by icons. If you’re on a desktop, a label describing the symbol will pop up when hovering on it with you cursor. On a mobile a key placed above the data points will describe the icons.

Mobile view of an online map showing nine icons and their meanings

In some instances you'll also find a link to an accompanying commentary piece, which will be visible at the bottom of the page.

Online map with the country of Egypt highlighted and words at the bottom of the screen - linking out to commentary piece

Search the Chaos Map