John Beieler

PhD Student in Political Science

Week of Egyptian Protests

Egypt Is Burning

Kalev Leetaru pointed out to me that the recent events in Egypt would provide another opportunity to visualize the GDELT data and how it tracks the protests. In addition, GDELT also provides the opportunity to track the government response to the protests. My previous maps only examined the presence of protest behavior across the world. For this set of maps, however, I focus instead on Egypt alone and include various government responses to the protest activity.

The Data

As always, the data is pulled from the GDELT dataset. The data runs from August 9th until the 17th, which I’ve used to create two separate maps. With each of these maps, in the upper right corner you can choose the layers that appear on the map. When both layers appear on the map, the clickable points show the information only for the protest events. If you disable the protest layer, you can see information for the additional violence or posture levels. Each point includes a record of number of events, location name, and the source URLs used to generate the events. As a note, CartoDB doesn’t play nicely with the long string of source URLs, so each URL is only separated by a space and must be copied and pasted into a browser. Finally, it is important to note that zooming in on the map is highly suggested; the GDELT dataset provides a fair amount of city-level detail in the geolocation of events and it is very interesting to see the spread of protests and government responses.

The first map displays protest behavior, subsetted from GDELT using root CAMEO codes of 14, with an overlay of violent events as red circles. The violent events are pulled using the root CAMEO code of 18, with the additional stipulation that the target of the action had to be civilian in some way, as indicated by a CVL label in one of the Actor2Type codes. This generates the following map:

The second map uses the same protest data, but instead overlays CAMEO root codes of 15, which indicates a change in military or police posture. This results in

I leave the substantive interpretation up to the reader, but it is worthwhile to note that the change in military/police posture events are more widespread than the violent events. As expected, there is also a high concentration of violent events within Cairo.


As with the previous maps, I made use of the great tools developed by CartoDB and CSS by Josh Stevens.