Graphs

Giving a Voice to Pakistan's Tribal Region

In partnership with the Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative at the New America Foundation, we developed PakistanSurvey.org, opening data from 1,000 face-to-face interviews across 120 villages in Pakistan's northwest Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The release of the data in October 2010 marked the first comprehensive public opinion survey done in the region, and the data is mashed together with the mapping of 142 reported drone strikes in FATA (through July 2010) to help add context to the survey responses.

Homepage

The site architecture focuses on showing disaggregated data for each of the seven agencies in FATA and response breakdowns for each survey question, allowing users to compare opinions on specific questions across different agencies. Every question response on both agency and theme pages can be filtered by demographic data, gender, age, education, marital status, and income level. All of the 43 substantive questions from the survey are broken out to show both FATA wide-sentiment and sentiment at the agency level. The graphs are designed to help users make comparisons while skimming a large amount of data quickly.

Summary

For this site, we needed to show a lot of data together without sacrificing a fast user experience. Speed really matters when you are building interactive data sites like PakistanSurvey.org, and our goal here was to encourage a lot of browsing and filtering by making sure the user experience could keep up with people's questions as they explored the site.

Building for Speed with Open Source

We built this site on top of Express, a very fast and small server-side JavaScript framework built on Node.js and Connect. For those new to Node.js, it is a low level toolkit designed for writing high performance server-side JavaScript applications. We used MongoDB for the database. The maps were made using OpenLayers, and they are all hosted on MapBox.com, leveraging some of the newer tools we're building like TileLive.

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