The power of maps: Localising violence acts in South Africa


The motivation for launching a map of violence in South Africa are the upcoming elections that are suspect to become violent as service delivery protests are already turning rough and the number of public violence acts is increasing. – ISS Today reported that by end of January more than 10 people had already been shot dead due to public protests. In order to ensure a peaceful poll, the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) South Africa bore the idea of registering public violence incidents and launched the country’s first open access project to map any kinds of public violent occurrences. The initiative is based on existing academic research and efforts to monitor protest action. Each violent act is uploaded onto a map outlining the hotspots of violence and areas where it might emerge. The described incidents are arranged into categories in order to understand the triggers and motivations for violence to occur. The combination of the spatial distribution pattern of violence and Census data is expected to deliver useful knowledge and comprehension of the growing phenomenon and help to create solutions of how affected communities, authorities and police departments may respond to it.

The mapping project has been funded by Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Success will depend on the joint efforts of government and civil society, and this requires transparency and open access to accurate data. As a starting point, the ISS Crime and Justice Information and Analysis Hub launched a free public violence map viewer that allows Internet users to view public and potential election violence hot spots using interactive maps. Users can also report incidents of violence online.


Have a look:

The map is stored at The two examples show the positioning of violent incidents and its causation. Clicking on the single violent act you will get a description of what happened in detail.
The map is stored here. The map at the top shows the location of violent incidents and its causation in South Africa. Clicking on the single violent icon you will get a detailed description of the respective occurrence (bottom map).


Crime maps are spread in dozens of cities and places around the world. I specifically know about two initiatives from London, UK, where murders (murdermap) and gang activity are localised by crowd sourcing means. I think crime maps are a useful source of information about what is happening in someone’s environment. – In this regard, crowd sourcing proofs to abe an advantegeous tool.

Source: Geospatial World

Stefan Mühlbauer
I ever since was passionate about topography and started my professional life on a local scale by doing landscape design. With the European Master in Geospatial Technologies I continue on a larger scale and find myself highly comfortable with this complete outsight on what surrounds us here and there. My special attention goes to the topic of remote sensing, which enables to find answers to a series of problems of environment and planning. For me, the geo-world holds a high potential to learn and create life. An awesome 'g'!