29 September, 2014

War in Nigeria: Map of Boko Haram Control (September 2014)

Detailed map of Boko Haram territorial control in its war with Nigeria, marking and labeling each town reportedly under the group's control in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states. Includes Damboa, Buni Yadi, Madagali, Gwoza, Gujba, Gulak, Bama, Gulani, Shuwa, Marte, Kukawa, Michika, Dikwa, Bularafa, Bazza, Gambaru Ngala, Buni Gari, Banki, Bara, Pulka, Bumsa, Ashgashiya, Limankara, Njibulwa and more.
Map by Evan Centanni. All rights reserved.
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Conflict tracking by T.H., with additional reporting by Evan Centanni

Boko Haram vs. Nigeria
Though it's waged a bloody war against the Nigerian government for many years, rebel group Boko Haram rarely could claim significant territorial control until recently. Though they did take over a number of remote areas in spring of last year (see our 2013 Boko Haram control map), the militants were soon driven back into hiding by the Nigerian military.

The insurgency never went away, with Boko Haram's bombings and other attacks, often on schools and other public places, increasing in number and lethality from 2013 into early 2014. (Also see our 2013 report for more background on Boko Haram).

20 September, 2014

Maps of How Scotland's Regions Really Voted

Good geographers know that maps can lie to you. Every map emphasizes some aspects of a place at the expense of others, giving it a lot of power to lead careless readers astray. Maps of Scotland's recent independence referendum are misleading us about the reality, even if not intentionally.

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Map of results in Scotland's September 18, 2014 independence referendum. Voters were polled on whether or not to separate from the UK. Map shows relative proportion of yes and no votes for each of Scotland's council areas, using a gradient rather than contrasting colors for small differences.
Map by Evan Centanni, based on blank map by TUBS and NordNordWest (CC BY-SA)
By Evan Centanni

Misleading Maps
By now you've probably heard the results of Scotland's independence referendum: voters chose "no" by a solid margin of 55% to 45%. Check out our previous article to learn more about what would have happened if Scotland had voted "yes".

Maps like this one from the BBC and this one from Wikipedia have popped up since the results came out, showing how each of Scotland's council areas voted. Most of the country is in red for "no", with a few "yes" areas in green.

But if one area went 51% for "yes", and another 51% for "no", those two areas actually voted almost identically - yet contrasting red/green maps make us feel like they're polar opposites (not to mention that one-in-thirty readers has trouble seeing the difference between red and green).

How the Councils Really Voted
Whether each area's people voted just over or just under 50% in favor isn't actually that important. What matters is how far the balance was tipped in each region. This is not the U.S. presidential election, where the final vote is actually made by delegates obligated to go by the majority in each state. All the votes across Scotland were pooled together to determine the result, so which side of the 50-yard line each area came out on has no effect .

17 September, 2014

Scottish Independence Poll: What is Scotland, and What Will Happen if it Votes to Leave the UK?

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Map of Scotland. On September 18, 2014, Scotland will vote on whether to leave the UK and become an independent country.
Map of Scotland by Eric Gaba (source). License: CC BY-SA
By Evan Centanni

Scotland's Independence Vote
On Thursday (September 18), residents of Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom (UK). But is Scotland a country already? What will happen if voters choose "yes" in the referendum? And what other changes would this bring to Scotland and the UK's political geography? Read on for the answers to these questions and more!

Crash Course: History of Scotland
Scotland is the name of the northern third of Great Britain, the main island of the UK, which is shared with England to the south and Wales to the southwest. It originated as the Kingdom of Alba, an independent Celtic country that was unified around the year 900.

It remained an independent kingdom throughout the Middle Ages, gradually absorbing Anglo-Saxon culture from the south until it came to be ruled by English-speaking monarchs, who called it "Scots" or "Scotland" after the Latin name for the Gaels, the predominant Celtic people of the region.

15 September, 2014

Syria Civil War Map: September 2014 (#14) (Premium)

(To see other maps in this series, view all Syria updates.)

Detailed map of fighting and territorial control in Syria's Civil War (Free Syrian Army and Nusra Front rebels, Kurdish groups, ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State and others), updated to September 2014.

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Our Syrian Civil War coverage continues with this updated situation map, showing changes to territorial control since our previous Syria map report in August. Government forces, the Islamic State (ISIS), and the allied rebels have all made territorial gains during the past weeks.

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  • Recent areas of fighting including Tabqa Airbase, Halfaya, Quneitra Province and more
  • Timeline of events since mid-August, including both territorial changes and major political happenings



02 September, 2014

Ukraine War Rebel Control Map: September 2014 (Premium)

Detailed map of pro-Russian rebel control in Ukraine's eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, claimed by the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic. Updated to September 1, 2014

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Russia is now being accused of directly invading eastern Ukraine, and opposition control in the region has seen major changes since our last Ukraine war map update.

This is detailed map and timeline of pro-Russian territorial control in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, home to the claimed Donetsk People's Republic, Lugansk People's Republic, and Federation of Novorossiya. Updated to the start of September 2014.

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  • Detailed, updated map of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, showing both past and current rebel control
  • Indication of which districts and cities have had their administrations occupied by separatists
  • Timeline of changes to territorial control since July, and summary of major trends