20,580 Volleys

Ian Gibson

A collaborative exploration of what we've lost since 9/11.



20,580 Volleys is a project born out of a personal fury at recent news that a majority of Americans support the use of U.S. ground troops in the fight against ISIS. As fewer and fewer folks bear the burdens of military service, the decision to support war becomes increasingly easier for many who have no connection at all to those who will have to fight when the times come. The piece looks to develop these connections by mapping data of those who have been killed in post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The main element is a projected map visualizing the hometowns, known duty stations, and places of death for military personnel killed while serving in post-9/11 operations. It begins blank. Data is drawn chronologically as users visit a separate page in a browser on their mobile devices. Here they will learn about the project and add the next fatal casualty to the map while receiving more information about who they were. Users will be able to collaboratively construct a timeline of wartime deaths while becoming more intimately connected with the story of a specific casualty.

The data comes from icasualties.org and was cleaned with OpenRefine and MS Excel. The map and phone interfaces were written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with the p5 library. A node server connects the pieces with web sockets. Web searches within the phone portion are conducted using DuckDuckGo.


Data in Conflict, Live Web