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The international trade in small arms and ammunition is as controversial as it is complicated and constant. The volume of this trade is difficult to analyse, and much of the industry commonly happens below the radar of public perception.

However, this visualisation uses nearly twenty years of economic data to ascertain the true extent of the legal arms and ammunition trade between nations.

It shows this trade as traces of light moving in arcs between countries across an interactive globe – imports in blue, exports in orange. The viewer can select to display military, civilian or ammunition data, opening up understanding of the constituent parts of the industry and the demands of each nation.

It’s easy to identify the planet’s chief importers and exporters of arms, but this visualisation offers an insight into lesser known international relationships and agreements, as well as demonstrating the close trade ties within common markets, such as the European Union.