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The application of Geographical Information Systems to armed violent conflict resolution and peacebuilding: a literature review

Stanislas Rwandarugali
Njoya Ngeta


Many conventional approaches to resolving armed violent conflicts, including negotiations, peace talks, and stabilization, have been adopted, especially in Asia and Africa, but sustainable peace is still illusive in some of these areas. Most of these approaches emphasize the economic and political aspects of peace negotiations and tend to ignore the spatial component. There are several innovative technologies, such as smart cell phones, the internet, Global Position Systems (GPS), and satellite data for mapping armed violent conflict resolution. However, GIS has been recognized as an invaluable tool, a decision support system, and has the potential to assist in conflict resolution. This paper aims to review literature on the application of GIS in the prevention of armed violent conflict, its resolution, post-conflict reconstruction, and peacebuilding. The literature review reveals that while GIS continues to be applied in armed violent conflict resolution and peacebuilding, several challenges remain, including amongst others, its availability, its acceptance by conflicting parties, its accessibility, the accuracy of its data, and the expertise of GIS personnel undertaking the data analysis and integration of data from different sources. A suggested area of further study includes either the application of remote sensing to violent conflict resolution or an integrated application of GIS and Remote Sensing to armed conflict resolution.