Thursday, August 02, 2007

Louisville Metro Police Department: MetroWatch Map

The LMPD launched a new service yesterday called MetroWatch. It's an interactive online crime mapping tool that maps neighborhood crimes reported during the last 30 days. It's an okay first stab at a public mapping service, but I think there are a number of issues with the implementation.

What Metro Mapper does better:
  1. More Data. Has 2-4 years of data available, instead of 30 days.
  2. More Crimes. Shows all crimes reported, instead of just some.
    1. MetroWatch: Assault, Auto Theft, Burglary, Homicide, Robbery, Theft, Vandalism
    2. Metro Mapper: Arson, Homicide, Assault, Kidnapping, Bribery, Larceny/Theft, Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, Vandalism, Pornography, Drugs/Narcotics, Prostitution, Embezzlement, Robbery, Blackmail, Sex: Forcible, Forgery, Sex: Nonforcible, Fraud, Stolen Property, Gambling, Weapon Violations, Miscellaneous
  3. Faster. Shows results immediately, and once loaded allows instantaneous panning and zooming on the maps, instead of waiting for each map change to load.
  4. More Information. MetroWatch only shows the address of the report, where Metro Mapper shows address, location type, date and time, offender info (sex, race, age), sub-category of crime, counts of crime, and distance from your address.
  5. Search Options. Metro Mapper lets you see only the types of crime you want to see. You filter your search with start and end date, types of crime, offender info, crime severity, and locations of the crime. For example, you could get a map of only crimes reported in the last year relating to sexual abuse at bars or restaurants where the offender is a white male.
  6. Extra Overlays. With our Mapplets, you can overlay the crime reports with the location of registered sex offenders in your neighborhood. Or if you are looking for a home, see the most recent homes for sale, then show the crimes that occurred around that home. And then you can email the map to your friends, or view it in Google Earth.
What MetroWatch does better:
  1. Quicker Updates. Until the LMPD puts their publicly available crime data on their public website (like other US cities do) for all to use (instead of just sending it privately to LOJIC), my data will be a few days/weeks/months out of date. Requests for data can take a long time due to the LMPD process and paperwork.
  2. Street Names. Since LOJIC's maps are city run, they can update their street names quickly, so if a name changes, it's reflected right away. Names don't change that much, so I'm really grasping at straws here. Google's maps are from a national database, so their updates are a bit slower.
So now, a year and a half after my first crime map was live, LOJIC and the LMPD have a chance to show off theirs.

What do you think?


Unknown said...

Does the "L" in LMPD stand for lame? If they have better access to this information, then why don't they have a better site? Because they don't have Schnuerle.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I saw that LMPD crime mapper on the news this morning. I was like, "cool, metromapper?" Then they showed it, and I was like, "wow, that looks like it sucks"

Anonymous said...

The LOJIC interface is *HORRIBLE*... it has the usability of something straight out of the last century. And boy is it slow... by the time it refreshes, someone has no doubt jacked your car.

Ursa said...

Metro Watch is truly sucktacular. The interface is unattractive and takes forever to load. They ought to just hire you and get it over with, Michael.

Metro Mapper: 1
Metro Watch: 0