Illustrations were generated from a web application created for the cover story of the December 3, 2006 issue of The New York Times Magazine. The piece, titled “Open-Source Spying” by Clive Thompson, was about whether blogs and wikis could be used by agencies like the CIA and FBI to combat terrorism.

A database was created based on what we determined to be the four types of search terms required to describe a terrorist attack: terrorist group, target type, method, and location. The visualizations focus on hypothetical clusters of search terms that would have revealed themselves during the planning of significant terrorist attacks since the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.