Chrome Experiment: Arms Trade / Globe

I stumbled upon this very nice graphical representation by Google about the global arms trade: Here

Google has created an interactive visualization that shows patterns and trends in imports and exports of small arms and ammunition across the world, which it says is an $8.5 billion industry.

The graphic, which Google built using the open source WebGL Globe on Google’s Chrome Experiments site, shows the earth with fiery lines that indicate countries’ imports and exports of ammunition and small arms, such as revolvers, assault rifles, and light machine guns. The United States is white hot with activity—in 2010 it imported $995,769,657 and exported $606,577,243 worth of munitions. That’s up from $272,612,334 and $455,520,281, respectively, in 1992.

The visualization is interactive in that you can manipulate it and zoom in and out of the globe, click on various countries to change the perspective, and use a timeline at the bottom to see trading patterns over the years.

“You can see, for example, that the scale of the global trade in ammunition rivals the scale of trade in actual weapons, an insight underexplored by policymakers today in conflict prevention and resolution,” writes Scott Carpenter, deputy director of Google Ideas, in a recent post on Google’s official blog.

The interactive visualization is part of the Google Ideas initiative on illicit networks and was produced by Google’s Creative Lab team working with the think tank Igarape Institute. The groups used more than 1 million data points garnered from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) small arms database.

(Full source of the story can be found here)

One thought on “Chrome Experiment: Arms Trade / Globe

  1. What costs US$ 8.5 billion and goes BANG?

    The figure for the global small arms trade being worth USD 8.5 billion was taken from the forthcoming Small Arms Survey 2012, due for release on 27 August at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

    ‘Moving Targets’ will provide the latest information on the global authorized trade in small arms and present new findings on small arms proliferation and armed violence worldwide.

    A full press release, along with chapter summaries and additional materials, will be released on the Small Arms Survey website at 1 pm Eastern Daylight Time (US) on 27 August. To learn more about these new findings, as well as pioneering research on armed violence, piracy, and state transparency in the arms trade, please visit at that time, or sign up to receive email announcements from the Small Arms Survey.

    To sign up for updates on the Small Arms Survey and our other publications, go to: or email
    For previous editions of the Small Arms Survey:
    Follow Small Arms Survey on Facebook (click ‘like’).
    Follow the Small Arms Survey on Twitter.

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