[LINK] computer glitch - LA Police/crime areas

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Wed Apr 8 17:29:30 AEST 2009


The Los Angeles Police Department is battling a virtual crime wave in 
downtown L.A. caused by an Internet map coding error.

If the department's <http://www.lapdcrimemaps.org/>online crime map 
is to be believed, one might think that a downtown location just a 
block from the LAPD's new headquarters is the most crime-ridden place 
in the city. In the past six months, that location experienced 1,380 
crimes--4 percent of all crimes mapped--or roughly eight a day.

The crimes were real, but the locations were off. A coding error 
within the system's geocoding--the process of converting addresses 
into map points--caused the crimes to be represented at a default 
location, according to a 
Sunday in the Los Angeles Times. The mistake caused many crimes to be 
mapped miles away from their actual locations, causing false trends 
to be reported while masking real ones, according to the report.

The LAPD was apparently unaware of the problem until alerted to it by 
a Los Angeles Times reporter. Lightray Productions, the contractor 
that designed the site at a cost of $362,000, has promised to fix the 
problem, according to the report.

Besides the geocoding error, the system also faces challenges in how 
the streets are identified when typed into the system.

An LAPD spokeswoman told the L.A. Times that the department will work 
with Lightray to improve the system.

"It's not perfect," spokeswoman Mary Grady said. "We do the best we 
can with the software available."

The site gets 4 million to 7 million page views a month.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

_ __________________ _

More information about the Link mailing list