What is chaos?

What types of chaos do we map?

We currently map incidents linked to disruption of three natural resources:

  • Food
  • Fuel
  • Water.

For each of these natural resources we record seven different types of social unrest:

  • Riot
  • Demonstration
  • Protest
  • Looting
  • Suicide
  • Conflict.

The Chaos Map records incidences of social unrest that have ultimately resulted in death. We assume the intensity of each episode is represented by the number of deaths connected to it. Therefore, a riot that resulted in one death is less ‘intense’ than a demonstration that resulted in 20 deaths according to our definition.

The Chaos Map displays these intensity scores, giving an accessible, visual indication of ‘hotspots’ of unrest – or a picture of chaos.

How do we map chaos?

Our researchers use an academic search engine, ProQuest, to source and extract data points based on a rigorous methodology that involves, for instance, agreed terminology and search settings.

We carefully scan publicly available newspapers and news wires, and feed information into a database that captures specific data points. The Chaos Map displays that data in visual form.

What’s next?

We are currently working on designing the second phase of the project, which will involve extending the map in different directions, both time- and dimension-wise.

The data points will be updated with the latest year available.

In addition, food, fuel and water aren’t the only natural resources that people depend upon, and so we’re considering extracting other data sets.

We are also exploring specific case studies to extend the commentary series, which will add granularity to some of the data points already present in the Map.

If you are interested in being involved in the next phase of the project, contact the project lead Dr Davide Natalini: davide.natalini@anglia.ac.uk.