A Primer on Geocoding for Peace and Conflict Studies

Author: Adam Farquhar

Geocoding tools, which associate an event or data point with a latitude and longitude, are increasingly utilized to understand the spatial dimension of peace and conflict. These tools also highlight the role of technology in studying aspects of conflict that are linked to a particular place, and bring to the fore ethical considerations involved in this new approach to conflict analysis.

This report explores the concept of geocoding, its evolution, and its benefits and drawbacks. The report goes on to summarise the many software tools that can be used in geocoding, the public data available for mapping, best practice in data collection in the field, and ethical concerns around using geocoded data. Finally, the paper offers practical suggestions for working with peace agreements and ceasefires as geocoded locations.

Peace Analytics Series

PeaceRep’s Peace Analytics Series features the research methodology underlying the PeaceTech innovations of the PeaceRep programme.

The series includes: data scoping research; ‘how to’ discussions relating to particular challenges in the field of visualisations and geocoding; and other proof-of-concept tech-based innovations, such as the use of natural language processing. It is intended to present the methodologies and decisions behind our PeaceTech digital research, to make it transparent, and to contribute to establishing a new research digital infrastructure in the field of peace and conflict studies, by supporting others to reuse and repurpose our methodologies and findings.