Thursday, February 02, 2006

Google Murder Maps Mashups

Using the Google Maps API to chronicle homicides

Tech savvy papers like the Toronto Star, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the Star-Ledger are employing the Google Maps API in their online depiction of homicides and murders within their reading areas. This is a great way to visually show the concentration and locations of these incidents. The mapping user interface is also becoming more common for people which is removing some of the learning curve for a visitor. It's also easier and more cost effective for online editions of news organizations to employ this technology rather than alternatives that offer no user interactivity with the map. Here they are:

"Getting Away With Murder" in Essex County NJ - The Star Ledger informed me of their Google Map accompaniment in a story which spotlights the problem with getting criminals behind bars in this county. The story reviews 637 homicides that occurred from 1998-2003 and shows that most of the people that committed these crimes have gone unpunished. The Google Map creates the backdrop and context for the reader in this story.

Rochester homicide rate is worst in NY State - I've mentioned this map before.. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has created a Google Map in this article which describes why the city has the worst homicide rate in the state of New York. View the map they have created by clicking the graphical link within the story.

Toronto Star now showing 2006 homicides - The Toronto Star was the first online newspaper in the English web world to employ the Google Maps API with their 2005 Homicide map. Toronto is not known as a city with a high homicide rate but when the number rose last year it alarmed everyone. This map was developed to help show the numbers and where they were taking place. With 2006 now upon us, the hope is that this problem is now curbed, but only this Google Map will show us the story.

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