Posts Tagged ‘adrian holovaty’

New Programs Put Crime Stats on the Map (Wall Street Journal)

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

pj-ap982_pjcrim_d_20090602211218 pj-ap988_pjcrim_d_20090602153833

[Editor’s note: Instead of screen scrapping police logs printed in community papers, web mappers are partnering directly with city police departments to get timely, accurate reports up online in map form. Thanks Yifang!]

Republished from the Wall Street Journal.
June 3, 2009. By BOBBY WHITE

When a burglar broke into a home on the outskirts of Riverdale Park, Md., last month, some locals quickly received an email alert about the incident. Once police confirmed the crime on the scene, they followed
up with a more thorough email disclosing the time, location and type of crime.

The alert is part of a crime-information service that the Riverdale Park police department provides its residents about illegal activity in their neighborhoods. “It helps us keep the public informed,” says Teresa Chambers, police chief of Riverdale Park, a suburb of Washington, D.C. “It’s also a way for us to solicit help [from residents] in solving some of these crimes.”

Across the country, Americans can increasingly track crime trends block by block as more police departments contract with Internet-based crime-mapping services. Since 2007, more than 800 police departments have begun working with Web sites like CrimeMapping.com, CrimeReports.com and EveryBlock.com. The services take live feeds from police record-keeping systems and automatically post the data on their sites.

Police say they use the sites to help change citizens’ behavior toward crime and encourage dialogue with communities so that more people might offer tips or leads. Some of the sites have crime-report blogs that examine activity in different locales. They also allow residents to offer tips and report crimes under way.

Police have traditionally depended on media reports and community meetings to inform the public about neighborhood crime. Many departments have been reluctant to share too much information with the public out of concern it could be used as a political tool, says Thomas Casady, police chief of Lincoln, Neb. But the rise of Web services that publish records online has forced some of the departments to reconsider. Some of these sites operate independently of the police department, putting pressure on police to participate, Mr. Casady says.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal . . .

Take Control of Your Maps (A List Apart)

Monday, May 12th, 2008

(Reprinted from A List Apart. Thanks Peter! Paul Smith is is a co-founder and developer at EveryBlock, see this blog post. He has been creating sites and applications on the Web since 1994. He’s also co-creator of the Election Day Advent Calendar, and a founding member of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.)

by PAUL SMITH

map a list apart

We live in the era of Google Maps. What started off as an impressive refresh of Mapquest-style maps now fuels web mashups. With APIs official and unofficial, Google Maps is simple enough for front-end designers to embed and for back-end programmers to target. Along the way to becoming nearly ubiquitous, it has played a major role in the “democratization of mapping.” For the practical developer who wants to add geospatial information to a site or application, the Google Maps API has been an easy call.

But, perhaps no longer. As websites mature and the demand for geographic applications grow, the old mashup arrangement is starting to chafe. Mapping components are more and more vital, and so we demand greater control, expressiveness, and functionality from them.

Fortunately, as in many aspects of internet technology, an ecology of open source online mapping tools has emerged alongside the market leader. It is now possible to replicate Google Maps’ functionality with open source software and produce high-quality mapping applications tailored to our design goals. The question becomes, then, how?

Continue reading how to create a custom web map . . .

– And skipping right to the conclusion –

Conclusion

One of the great things about online mapping is that it straddles the line between the artistry and communication of cartography, and the precision and programmability of GIS. You can produce great-looking maps that are highly functional and integrate smoothly with your application. It’s my hope that this article demystified the web map stack and will get you thinking about how you can take control of the maps in your site.

RESOURCES/EXTERNAL LINKS

There are many open source projects related to online mapping and GIS. This article touched on these:

In addition, just to name a few: Modest Maps and Mapstraction are browser UI libraries similar to OpenLayers, in Flash and JavaScript, respectively. GeoServer and MapServer are alternatives to Mapnik in the map rendering department. You owe it to yourself to investigate these alternatives, as they each excel in different ways and one may meet your needs better than the others.

Every Block – Adrian Holovaty’s New Project

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

every block logoAdrian Holovaty’s new project is EveryBlock, where he and his team answers the question: “What’s happening in my neighborhood?” The website’s aim is to collect all of the news and civic goings-on that have happened recently in your city, and make it simple for you to keep track of news in particular areas. The site is a geographic filter — a “news feed” for your neighborhood, or, yes, even your block. So far only Chicago, San Francisco, and New York but more “coming soon”.

Adrian describes himself as a journalist and Web developer. He has developed award-winning Web applications for washingtonpost.com (I work for the print edition, he worked for the web edition), Lawrence.com and LJWorld.com and started EveryBlock after being awarded a two-year grant from the Knight Foundation. He’s one smart dude.

His 2005 project chicagocrime.org, developed with co-EveryBlocker Wilson, was one of the original Google Maps “mashups” — and eventually helped influence Google to open its mapping infrastructure for all to use.

Adrian co-created Django, a free, open-source development framework that makes it fast and easy for programmers to build Web sites. He co-wrote the Django Book in 2007. Source: Everyblock.com.