by Sam Culper III
I haven’t kept up to date with Syria. So many places, so little time. But I did come across this website, and it shows some excellent examples of how we delineate Areas of Operation (AO), Operation Boxes (OpBox), or as this map shows, besieged areas or occupied/held territory. (Read the article, if so inclined. Interesting COIN strategy. Assad seems to be taking Kilcullen’s “kill a city to save it” a little too literally.)
You could create map overlays in this manner by breaking down voting districts (red v. blue), socio-economic areas (by any available census data at http://www.census.gov or http://www.census.gov/2010census/popmap/ when it wants to work), high crime areas, etc.