The Gaza Platform users to explore, visualise, and query a database of over 2,650 individual events that occurred during the 2014 conflict in Gaza, and that have been documented in reports by Al Mezan, PCHR, and Amnesty International. Those reports have been turned into a structured database: each event has been assigned coordinates in space and time, and characterised through a series of attributes (such as number of people killed, type of target, mode of firing, etc.).
The interface of the Gaza Platform allows users to move across scales of analysis: it gives access to the granular details of each individual event, as well as it helps revealing patterns and trends among dispersed events.
Below are some instructions as to how to use and make the most of the Gaza Platform.
The main area, in the form of a map of the Gaza strip, is the navigation area. You can zoom in and out by using the + / - buttons, and change the base layer to display either satellite imagery or a choice of two digital base maps.
On the map, the black circles containing figures are clusters of events (the figure correspond to the number of events registered in that location). Clicking on these black circles zooms into the cluster and decomposes it into smaller clusters or individual events (black dot, no figure inside).
Each individual event can be clicked in order to access all the details about it.
On the right side of the platform you will find a column titled “Event Details”
When an event is clicked (black dot turning yellow), all the details about this event are displayed in this column, organised by tabs.
According to the type of media available for a given event, you may see different tabs/icons.
The Table tab, displayed by default, provides some of the key data about the event in a table form.
The Event Summary tab gives access to the reports by organisations on the ground, which have been reproduced here in their original or translated form.
The Photos, Videos, Witness Testimonies, and Files/Links tabs respectively give access to this type of documentation of an event when it is available.
CHARTS & FILTERS
In the lower part of the platform, you will find a series of charting and filtering tools.
In the top left corner of this area, clicking on “Charts & Filters” opens up a drop-down menu, from which you can select the kind of chart to be displayed: users can plot data over time, visualise it by type, by yes/no questions, by casualties, by media available, and by sources of data.
Each chart enables users not only to visualise data, but also to filter it according to certain criteria.
The map itself works as a filtering device. At any time, the chart & filter area will only plot data about events that are contained within the frame of the map. This means that, if users wants to focus on the events that took place in the city of Rafah, they can zoom and pan the map around Rafah: only the data pertaining to events in that area will be charted in the chart & filter area.
On the right side of the chart selection menu, users can read the number of events contained in the specific frame of the map.
The chart that is visible to users by default displays the number of events over time.
Charting and filtering “Over Time”
Selecting a chart “over time” displays a timeline, whose timespan corresponds to the duration of the war (6 July – 27 August 2014). The white line chart displays the distribution of the selected data over time. The charts available are: number of events over time, number of people killed (min) over time, and number of people wounded (min) over time.
By clicking and dragging a window across the timeline, users can select a specific period of time as a filter. For example, clicking and dragging a window between 13 and 20 July will filter out all the events that did not take place during that specific week, enabling users to focus on a given period of time.
One of the most useful function of the platform is the ability to combine filters, as a way to create and reveal unique charts and data.
Charting and filtering “By Type”
Selecting a chart “by type” displays a bar chart, which visualise the number of events that have been assigned a specific tag. The different charts available are: number of events by type of target, number of events by mode of firing, and number of events by structural damage.
For example, the chart “number of events by mode of firing” will breakdown all the visible events in the frame of the map, count how many of them involved an air strike, a drone strike, artillery fire, or infantry fire, and draw a series of bar charts accordingly.
By clicking on one of these bars, users can select the specific mode of firing they want to focus on. For example, clicking on “Drone strikes” will make the bar turn grey in the chart, and will filter out of the map view all the events that did not involve a drone strike. If the previous “time” filter was still on, users would be looking at drone strikes between the 13 and 20 July.
They can move within the map, and the data in the chart will update dynamically to only show data pertaining to the selected area.
Charting and filtering by “Yes/No” questions
In a similar way to charting and filtering by type, the Yes/No charts enable to visualise data through a bar chart with three options (yes, no, unknown) according to the available answer to a given question: was there a warning before the strike? Was it a knock-on-roof strike? Was it a strike on first responders? Has an IDF investigation been opened about the strike?
Clicking on one of the option enables to isolate a particular category of events.
Charting and filtering “By Casualties”
This option displays an aggregate count of the total number of casualties that have resulted from the events visible in the active map view. Users can select between looking at number of people killed in current map view, and number of people wounded in current map view.
Using this tool enables to quickly read the total number of casualties per specific geographical area (by zooming and panning into an area). When combined with other filters, it can also display the number of casualties that have resulted from a particular kind of attack – for example, from artillery fire – or in a given period of time – if a timeframe was selected before using a chart “over time”.
Clicking and dragging in the small measuring bar under each figure enables to filter data according to the number of casualties per individual events. This is useful, for example, if a user wants to display only the most deadly attacks. Once dragged between 5 and 30, the map will only display attacks that killed five people or more.
As it updates dynamically with the events filtered/displayed on the map, the total number of events displayed in the grey bar above the charts is a useful information to check while exploring the overall data.
Charting and filtering by “Media Available” and by “Data Sources”
In a similar way to the charts “By Type”, the charts “Media Available” enables to filter events according to the type of documentary media available about that specific events (Photos, Videos, Witness Testimonies, Files/Links).
The charts “Data Sources” enables to filter events according to the source(s) of data that have reported on that specific events.
Combining filters enables to undertake precise analysis, and to reveal particular patterns and trends across the data.
When a filter is on, the Funnel icon on the top right of the charts and filters area turns yellow, so as to remind users that they are looking at only a particular cross-section of the data.
Clicking on the Refresh icon next to the funnel icon resets all filters to zero and reloads the Gaza Platform with all the data available in the database.
Finally, the search field enables users to undertake keyword searches across the entire database. Results of the search are equivalent to filtering out of all events that do not contain the keyword run for search.