On Nov. 1, 1995, President Bill Clinton invited representatives to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, to negotiate an end to the ethnic discord in the former Yugoslav Republic between Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. After 18 weeks of shuttle diplomacy and 21 days of intense negotiations,leaders from the contending parties initialed the Dayton Peace accords agreeing to the end of the war on Nov. 21. The ceremonial signing took place in Paris one month later with Clinton in attendance.
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Wesley Clark devised the mapping support strategy for Dayton as the chief U.S. negotiators. The strategy was simple. Flood the negotiations site with U.S. military maps from the Defense Mapping Agency, keep modified maps and re-computations of territorial areas coming as fast as needed and make no mistakes. A team of 50 technicians brought with them portable computer systems, digitizing stations and printers. They could produce a map or complex revision within 30 minutes. The digital technique guaranteed accuracy, consistency and reliability. It was the first time digital maps had been used in diplomatic negotiations.
The maps shared here give some indication of the complexity of the territorial issues and the sensitive areas of common claim that fueled the ethnic and religious dispute. The large pink, snake-like areas represent either an inter-entity boundary or a cease fire line, both with a zone of separation following the boundaries in parallel and in color.