Infrastructure and authority at the state’s edge: The Border Crossings of the World dataset

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The Border Crossings of the World (BCW) dataset explores state authority spatially by collecting information about infrastructure built where highways cross internationally recognized borders. This geolocated information is recorded using high-altitude imagery from 1993 to 2020. We describe how the data were collected, demonstrate the dataset’s utility, and offer advice and best practices regarding use of the data. These data present clear evidence of visible and long-term state investments in authoritative displays of states’ intention to ‘filter’ entry into and exit out of their national jurisdiction. Researchers can use these data to test theories on the causes and consequences of border hardening for security outcomes, border management cooperation, political violence, terrorism, trade and migration flows, transnational crime patterns, and human rights conditions. Because the data are precisely geolocated, they are easy to combine with existing spatial datasets.


Borders, data, globalization, infrastructure, state capacity

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Journal of Peace Research