Conflict & Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995

Created and Managed by Russell Schimmer
Director, Ben Kiernan, GSP

Genocide Studies Program Working Paper no. 30, 2007

Conflict & Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995 is a Geographic  Information Systems (GIS) project created by Yale University’s Genocide Studies Program (GSP) to serve as an interactive resource for researchers and survivors, as well as others interested in the Balkan conflicts of 1991-1995.  The GIS project is designed to be viewed on ©2007 Google Earth™ for PC, Mac, or Linux. The project’s GIS map layers include the locations of conflicts and genocide, pre-war census data, and the locations of POW camps, which serve as geographic references. Also included are maps and satellite image layers relevant to the period, and links to more detailed descriptions of particular places and events. One project objective is to create a platform for other links dedicated to documenting the devastating conflict and genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995.

Instructions for Users

  1. Google Earth™. Download a free version of ©2007 Google Earth™. To install the software on your computer, simply follow the step-by-step, prompted directions appearing during the download and installation process. During installation, you should be offered the option to place a shortcut icon for Google Earth™ on your desktop, which will allow you to quick-launch the program.

    Download the ©2007 Google Earth™ project, Conflict & Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995

    • When prompted, save the project to a location on your hard drive.
    • Once downloaded, you will be prompted to either click “Open,” which automatically launches the project in Google Earth™, or “Cancel” to launch the project at a later time.
    • To launch the project at a later time, simply navigate to the folder containing the Google Earth™ project file and double- click the file, or launch Google Earth™ and open the project directly in Google Earth™ by clicking on “File” and then “Open” in the upper left-hand toolbar of the Google Earth™ window (Figure 1). Navigate to the folder containing the Google Earth™ project file, select the project, and click “Open.”
  2. The project, Conflict and Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995
    Figure 2Once loaded in Google Earth™, the project folder, Conflict & Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995, will open automatically in the “Places” menu to the left of the “View” screen (Figure 2) and the project should appear in the View screen. By clicking on the “plus” sign in a box to the left of the project folder title, all of the associated group layers will be listed in a drop down menu (Figure 3). The group layers which are active will have either a checkmark, or dot within the activation box next to each group layer’s heading (Figure 3). To turn layers on and off, simply check or uncheck the activation box. All layers that are expandable, meaning they contain associated sub-layers, will have further plus signs next to their activation boxes. For example, the Banja Luka sub-layers are: destroyed Muslim sacred landmarks; maps; streets and railways; and satellite images, all of which individually can be turned on and off (Figure 4). To view descriptions or contents of highlighted sub-layers, single-click on the layer in the Places menu and a description box will appear on the View screen (Figure 5). By double-clicking on any sub-layer, Google Earth™ will automatically zoom in or out to the extent of that layer.
    Figure 3 Figure 4
    Figure 5      

    In Figure 5, an example of the available satellite images is listed for Banja Luka. These images are hyperlinked to the project.  To view a linked image, single-click on the hyperlink and Google Earth™ will load the image and zoom in or out to the extent of the image. Due to their size, some images might take time to load into Google Earth™.  The associated layer heading will usually appear at the top of the Places menu and might need to be turned on in order to view (Figure 4).


    Similarly, map images must also be loaded via hyperlink. In Figure 6, an example of how map images are displayed by individual footprint is shown (here two footprints are shown in red and yellow). To view map foot prints, the map sub-layer and individual map layer(s) must be active. Once active, the corresponding footprint(s) will appear on the View screen. By single-clicking on the map layer heading in the Places menu, a description box for the map will appear on the View screen providing a hyperlink to the linked map image. To view the map, single-click on the hyperlink and Google Earth™ will load the image and zoom in or out to the extent of the image. As with the satellite images, some maps might take a moment to load into Google Earth™ and the corresponding layer headings will usually appear at the top of the Places menu.
    In addition, there are layers of special interest. For example, under the Srebrenica group layer, there is a layer which displays sites of alleged or confirmed genocide in the area of Srebrenica, as well as a layer that shows the location of the Branjevo Military Farm (Figure 7). By single-clicking on the Branjevo Military Farm layer, the corresponding description displayed in the View screen will also include a hyperlink to an html document providing further information about the location. The description box points to the icon showing the reference point. Figure 7
    In the View screen, it is also possible to scroll over an icon and single-click it to activate the description box. When there are multiple icons on or near the same reference point, clicking on the icon group will display all of the icons in the group (Figure 8). To activate the description box of a single icon, scroll along the line leading to the icon and when the line highlights in red, click the icon. Figure 8

    Google Earth™ also provides “base map” layers such as for roads, hydrology, and political boundaries which can be turned on and off in the Google Earth™ “Layers” menu below the Places menu.

    Conflict & Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995 was created with funds from the Genocide Studies Program (GSP) at Yale University, and support from the Map Collection at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library and the Center for Earth Observation at Yale University. Many thanks to Abraham Kaleo Parrish, Interim Curator of the Map Collection, Stacey D. Maples, GIS Assistant at the Map Collection at Yale University Library, Jasmina Besirevic Regan, Dean of Trumbull College and Lecturer in Ethnicity and Migration and Sociology at Yale University, and Tatjana Lorkovic, Curator of the Slavic & Eastern European Collection at Sterling Memorial Library.

    To our knowledge, there are no copyright restrictions on any of the materials —maps, photographs, or descriptions— used in the official version of this project except where noted. Use of Conflict & Genocide in Former Yugoslavia, 1991-1995 is for educational and research purposes only. For questions and comments, please contact Russell Schimmer.