Security-based political map of Africa

Pierre Englebert (Political Science)

Using ArcGIS and French Foreign Ministry data, we created a redrawn map of the African continent for Professor of Political Science Pierre Englebert to support a research project of his. Englebert’s work argued that the official map of Africa as we know it inaccurately represents actual spheres of influence and control by nation-states in the continent. To better get at a representation of the boundaries of state power in Africa, he devised a system of using general security and local national control as proxies for state boundaries. This information was gathered from analyzing travel advisories given out by the French Foreign Ministry. Utilizing the scale of low to high security risks generated from this research, ITS worked with Warren Roberts, ArcGIS specialist from the CUC Libraries, to to create a map representation of actual nation-state power distribution as it falls in Africa according to Englebert’s standards. The work comprised of a significant summer-long project for an Instructional Technologies student worker, who had the opportunity to learn how to use ArcGis in the process. The map was used in a research journal article, “The ‘Real’ Map of Africa”, which appeared in Foreign Affairs in November, 2015.