LA Times Crime Map
Evaluation of Technologies Used
The LA Times’ interactive crime map provides up-to-date crime information for a number of Los Angeles Neighborhoods.
The interactive map is powered by Leaflet, with the map data coming from Google. The timeline located beneath the map is administered through the widget, “Simile”, which is also an open source database.
The use of Google Maps allows users to the familiarity of working with Google Maps, with the added benefit of interactive, temporal crime information. Users can click on the specific abbreviations (noted above in the key), to view the location and extent of crime committed, which is a similar platform provided by Google Maps.
The use of the timeline widget allows users to access temporal information regarding various crimes that have occurred within their desired neighborhood. This is vastly different from general maps, which only provide you static information for that one period of time.
Pros: Mentioned earlier, the LAT Crime Map provides the relative ease of use similar to Google Maps. Users are able to zoom in on their specific neighborhood and view the specific locations of where the crimes had occurred.
The timeline aspect provided below the map allows users to scroll through various time periods to view when specific crimes have occurred. This is a considerable strength of the map, as it provides previous historical crime context to the users.
Another advantage from the map is that information is summarized by week at the bottom of the webpage. This provides the number of violent crimes occurring for a specific week, the number of property crimes, and the number of crimes per 10,000 people. At the bottom of the page provides a list of the most recent crimes committed, along with the location and specific date and time.
Cons: The similarity of colors detailing the crimes are very similar and can be confusing to those who are unobservant or not paying attention to the key located above the map. This also makes it difficult to understand the timeline located underneath the map, since only colors are provided without any wording – this could just be to indicate that incidents occurred, but otherwise provides no other information.
Lastly, the location of the key at the very far bottom left corner of the map is not very obvious, considering the overwhelming colors presented on the map and the colors presented on the key.
General Evaluation of What’s Good and Bad
Considering the map’s purpose in educating and identifying potential crimes and their locations, the LA Times’ Crime map is generally a useful tool to provide very basic information. While it requires some knowledge of the specific area the user could be looking for, the map does provide good coverage of the Los Angeles region.
Further areas that could be improved upon could be that the map of Los Angeles is initially present when opening the link, rather than having a search bar or drop down list. For those unfamiliar with the name of the geographic location they are looking for, this could be an issue and potential area of improvement for the group project.