Andrew Halterman has published a paper describing Mordecai, his software for goesparsing and event coding. Details are at this link, and here is the summary of the paper:
Mordecai is a new full-text geoparsing system that extracts place names from text, resolves them to their correct entries in a gazetteer, and returns structured geographic information for the resolved place name. Geoparsing can be used in a number of tasks, including media monitoring, improved information extraction, document annotation for search, and geolocating text-derived event data, which is the task for which is was built. Mordecai was created to provide provide several features missing in existing geoparsers, including better handling of non-US place names, easy and portable setup and use though a Docker REST architecture, and easy customization with Python and swappable named entity recognition systems. Mordecai’s key technical innovations are in a language-agnostic architecture that uses word2vec (Mikolov et al. 2013) for inferring the correct country for a set of locations in a piece of text and easily changed named entity recognition models. As a gazetteer, it uses Geonames (Geonames 2016) in a custom-build Elasticsearch database.
Beth Elise Whitaker gave a presentation on resources and conflict in Africa to the Defense Intelligence Agency; you can view the presentation slides here.
Jim Walsh presented an overview of recent findings from the Resources and Conflict project at the Minerva Initiative Meeting and Program Review in Washington; you can check out the slides from the presentation here.
The Resources and Conflict team will be presenting two papers at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Philadelphia next week. Authors and titles are below, contact us if you would like more information:
- Kevin Greene, Justin Conrad, Beth Elise Whitaker, and James Igoe Walsh, “Rebel Natural Resource Exploitation and the Duration of Civil Wars”
- Michael Findley, Daniel Strandow, Jean-Claude Thill, and James Igoe Walsh, “Territorial Control and Violence Against Civilians During Civil Wars”
Check out the project’s recent post on the topic of “Mapping Territorial Control in Civil Wars” on the Political Violence at a Glance blog.
What are the links between natural resource wealth and civil conflict? Do civil war combatants view areas with natural resources as valuable prizes worth fighting over? How do combatants treat civilians that live near or work at natural resource sites? Researchers have had difficulty addressing these questions systematically due to a lack of high-quality data. With support from the Minerva Research Initiative, Innovations for Peace and Development at the University of Texas has spent the past couple of years painstakingly collecting geo-coded data on natural resource locations across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. They have now used this data to write a series of policy papers analyzing the links between natural resource locations and violent conflict in Central Africa, Algeria, and Egypt. Head over to the project’s policy papers page to check out summaries and to find links to the briefs.
Welcome to the website for the Resources and Conflict. The project aims to improve research and understanding of how civil conflicts begin, how they are fought, and how they can be brought to an end. Over the coming months, we will be adding new research, policy papers and micro-level and organizational data on natural resources, transnational crime, human rights abuses. Use the links above the check out who is involved in the project and to find links to publications and working papers, and sign up for email updates on our front page.