A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Analysis 101: Geographic Distribution Analysis

Geographic distribution analysis is a method of examining the occurrence of security incidents or the distribution of entities over a particular geographic area to determine what can be concluded about the incidents or entities. The analysis is usually performed on a map but the final results can also be expressed in a descriptive manner, as in a written report.

To complete a distribution analysis, data on the locations of violent incidents, entities of interest, etc. should be collected and plotted on a map that covers the area in question. Next the map is reviewed to produce a summary and to draw conclusions about what it might mean.

At its simplest geographic distribution analysis might only represent one dataset e.g. a plot of violent incidents on a city map. While this can be useful in itself, as a weekly briefing update perhaps, we can delve much deeper by synthesizing two or more datasets on the same map. We could compare a plot of violent incidents and criminal activities against a plot of proposed office and residence locations. As another example we could compare the locations of narcotic growing areas and smuggling routes with an overlay of violent incidents targeting NGOs.

To illustrate lets look back at our previous problem. As you’ll recall we did a time series analysis of a series of IED attacks. Although we were able to make some basic and tentative conclusions we knew we needed to do further analysis and geographic distribution is a good next step.

After plotting the IED incidents you come up with a map that looks like this.

Geographic Distribution Example Map

What are your conclusions now? Would you change or amplify your advice?

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