Thursday, January 31, 2008

Crime maps

The cockamamie ideas have to go somewhere, people.

I wish St. Louis had a better one of these, in chicago
And since I hate comparing StL to Chicago, one of these - the font's cooler, too - in Oakland, CA.

We (meaning St. Louis) supposedly has one here, (and a PostDispatch graphic designer, who I found through the proverbial tweet, makes some cool interactive maps here) but I've never ever managed to get it to open b/c it crashes Firefox and I'm afraid to try again (for the 7th time or so). I wonder what is up with the crime map as it is, though. Who made it, how does it keep updated, where does the info come from, all the little algorithms that seem to come into play when you're making a dynamic map-type thing, etc....I wanted to look up the location of this.

Wouldn't that be nice, just to know what's up? It would be SO nice.

Perhaps it's time to talk to the computer science departments at the top-notch Universities in the area. Call me an optimist, but wouldn't it be a wonderful way to not only pool the resources of the brains that visit our city during the school year, but also to bring the people a little closer to their lovely crime-fighting policemen. Not everyone can be as lucky as me and get tips from the ones who visit your coffeshop.

It's usually not the easiest situation 9especially if you look at the issues the Oakland crime map has had), combining police work with computer programming, because the policemen have work to do that's v. serious and crime maps just wanna make a little dot on it, and maybe that's not as serious. Still. It's an opportunity. A lemonade out of lemons situation. And if college kids work on it, they'll get to know the city better!

Talk about an unintended consequence, getting to know your city better through tracking its crime -- but you gotta start somewhere, right?

Just a thought. And a coworking space (or an awesome meeting room with lots of plugs, but that's a little redundant) would be a great place to do it.

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