Terrain and war: Measuring topographic and land cover heterogeneity in interstate wars, 1816–2003

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Michigan Tech Research Institute


This article introduces the War Terrain Indices and Geospatial Representation Dataset (WARTIGER). This dataset addresses a dearth of quality terrain data in the study of interstate war outcomes. It introduces three primary sets of variables for all interstate wars between 1816 and 2003, including disaggregated versions of the First and Second World Wars. The first, spatial extent, approximates the total area of a given war. The second measures topographic heterogeneity using a terrain ruggedness index. The third estimates land cover heterogeneity and presents a trafficability index. These data allow for an accurate and temporal assessment of the role of terrain as they relate to the correlates of war outcomes.

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Conflict Management and Peace Science