A Canadian-German Research Project

Arctic Legal framework
Identify the texts and categorize them.

The overall objective of the study was to understand the factors that influence the shipping conditions in the Arctic. One of the major considerations of navigating in the Arctic is knowing and complying with the legal framework. The leagal aspects that apply in th Arctic are rich, diverse and complex: there are eight countries, several territorial governments and numerous indigenous populations as well as a very sensitive eco-system. The complete set of regulations, guidelines, precedents..etc must be taken into account as it will help or hinder the traffic in the Arctic.

We compared and stored around 200 documents in an online bibliography. Based on these publications we divided the texts into 9 categories:

  • Arctic Council
  • Arctic States
  • International Public Law
  • International Private Law
  • Memorandums of Understanding (MoU's)
  • Non-Arctic countries
  • Non-legally binding documents
  • Precedent
  • Territorial governments
  • Each category has been sub-divided where it was necessary. For example the "Arctic States" category has been subdivided into 8 countries, and "International Private Law" has been sub-divided into "Carriage of goods and passengers" and "Liability and compensation".

    To study the texts we try to link them to the risks and responsibilities. Through this process we realized that it was complicated, though not impossible, to find a holistic view of the texts, particularly one that provided in an accessible and user-friendly way.

    How to visualize easily and in an interactive way the legal aspects in the Arctic?

    We used within the D3.js library, the zoomable treemap template presented by Mike Bostock. As Bostock explains in his template, the area of each rectangle is proportional to its value. The value in our visualization is the date of the text. The value appears when the mouse is over a node.

    This model allows the user to see two levels of information at the same time. The level are indicated in the top line. A simple click on the top label will zoom out. The top label becomes grey when the user passes the mouse over.

    The selected area appears in light green every time the user passes the mouse over. When you reach the grey level of cells it means that the last level of information is beeing displayed.

    Once the last level of information is reached, by clicking on each rectangle, the user will get access to the text either in a new page or the text will be downloaded automatically.

    The next steps will be:

  • To implement a tooltip (or pop-up window) that will display information about each text
  • To update the treemap based on collaboration and eventually crowdsourcing effort
  • Open in a new window

    Please note that the tool is developped in javascript. Make sure that when using it, your browser settings allow scripts.

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