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Interactive web visualization of information about capabilities consequences of missile launches

MISSILEMAP is an interactive web visualization meant to aid in the understanding of information about the capabilities and consequences of missile launches, in particular nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. It allows for the graphical representation of ranges, great-circle paths, accuracy (Circular Error Probable), blast damage, and probabilities of kill (the chance that a given weapon will put a particular amount of blast damage on a target). It was made to aid in discussions about missile development, since the technical nature of honest-to-god “rocket science” can make it rather impenetrable from the perspective of laymen, yet many of the fundamental questions are key to local understanding of geopolitical questions (e.g., “could North Korea hit my city with their latest missile?”). It was created by Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science and technology at the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. The site’s hosting is paid for by the College of Arts and Letters. It is programmed in Javascript, making extensive use of JQuery and the D3.js libraries, as well as the Google Maps Web API. Professor Wellerstein is a historian of nuclear weapons, the creator of the NUKEMAP, the author of the Restricted Data Blog, and developed this application using Cold War-era algorithms that have long since been declassified…”

See also – “The original NUKEMAP was created in February 2012 by me, Alex Wellerstein, a historian of nuclear weapons. I have a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley, a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University, and I am finishing a book on the history of nuclear secrecy in the United States from the Manhattan Project through the War on Terror. At the time I created the NUKEMAP, I was an Associate Historian at the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Maryland. In 2014, I began working as an Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Note: I am a historian of physics, not a physicist — people seem to sometimes get confused on this because of the subject matter I study and where I have worked. You can read more about my research on my blog, Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog.  In July 2013, I unveiled NUKEMAP2 and NUKEMAP3D. NUKEMAP2 allows for many more effects visualization options, and the display of casualties and fallout information. NUKEMAP3D allows for the visualization of mushroom cloud sizes in a 3D environment. In December 2013, I upgraded the blast model of NUKEMAP2 to account for arbitrary-height detonations. In April 2015, I performed a major algorithm upgrade to the casualty model to give it much finer-grade calculation of people over small areas and to generally increase its speed of calculation. NUKEMAP3D’s development has been put on hold after Google announced its deprecation of the Google Earth Plugin API, on which NUKEMAP3D relies….”

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