The 11th Crime Mapping Research Conference
Jun 25th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

The National Inst. of  Justice was one of the early adopters of GIS perspectives and technologies.  For the past decade, it has funded impressive research in the field, the results of which typically can transfer to other disciplines and questions related to space, time and events.  Note, too, that both the pre-workshops and the conference are FREE.

National Institute of Justice Registration is now open for the rescheduled 11th Crime Mapping Research Conference!

The 11th Crime Mapping Research Conference

When: October 19–21, 2011 Pre-conference Workshops: October 17–18

Where: Hilton Miami Downtown Miami, FL


About: The Crime Mapping Research Conference is about understanding crime, criminal justice, and public safety and their effect on, and by, places. At the 11th conference, you can explore: the latest research findings practical applications technology demonstrations policy results

Stay Connected with NCJRS! Register Now!

Free registration with NCJRS keeps you informed about new publications, grant and funding opportunities, and other news and announcements.

To register, visit:


David Rumsey Map Collection adds 1,634 new maps
Mar 19th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

From Rumsey's site:

1,634  new maps and images have been added to the David Rumsey Map Collection, bringing the online collection to over 26,000 maps and images. Included in this addition are five issues of Colton's General Atlas of the World dated from 1865 to 1886. Also two editions of Schonberg's Standard Atlas of the World, 1865 and 1867. Sheets from two national surveys: six composite images of the entire Wheeler Survey of the U.S. West, 1876, and the first 338 sheets of the massive 19th century survey of Germany, Karte des Deutschen Reiches, 1893 (the remaining 336 sheets will follow in the next update). Added are elegant maps from the Atlante Geographico de Agostini, 1952, and a complete set of all the Shell Oil Company Automobile Road maps of North America, 1956. All titles may be found by clicking on the View links or images below. Or click here to view all 1,634 new maps and images.


An AJ Watershed
Feb 25th, 2011 by Tom Johnson

This is a great weekend to be in Raleigh, North Carolina. Forget about the BBQ. Instead, head to the annual NICAR (National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting) confab at the Raleigh Marriott City Center. Or if it's too far or too late to go, then go to Twitter and do a search for the hashtag #NICAR11. Many, many attendees are doing a great job of tracking multiple presentations and hands-on workshops and then posting wonderful links to PowerPoint slides, Tipsheets (often being shared via Google Docs) and the debate about which is really the best style BBQ.

The reason we are calling this a “watershed” is that I have attended these for nearly 15+ years, and I've never seen such a wonderful compote of traditional journalists PLUS digital-savvy folks coming in from non-journalism backgrounds. This is the only way journalism — aggressive, watchdog journalism — can be saved.

Thanks to all for your investments in time, money and generous sharing.


Web Data Extractors
Jan 31st, 2011 by Tom Johnson

Marcus Zillman's research efforts bring to the surface a ton of tools that journalists can use, and especially so this month.  Check out the first 8 pages in his PDF on “Web Data Extractors” at 

Marcus Zillman writes:

“It gives me great pleasure to announce my V9N2 February 2011 Awareness Watch Newsletter. It is a freely available 53 page .pdf document (351KB) from the below URL. This month's featured report covers Web Data Extractors. These resources and tools are for academic, entrepreneurial, special interest and personal research and are both for the beginner as well as Internauts and all are available directly over the Internet. These web data extractors will allow you to extract information and data from the Internet to create new files and information such as mashups and more both for your research, knowledge discovery and content creation. The Awareness Watch Spotters cover many excellent and newly released annotated current awareness research sources and tools as well as the latest identified Internet happenings and resources including a number of neat and must-have tools! The Awareness Watch Article Review covers Teaching Wikipedia as a Mirrored Technology by Colleen A. Reilly.

February 2011 V9N2 Awareness Watch Newsletter

Marcus P. Zillman, M.S., A.M.H.A.

Internet  Expert, Author, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Consultant

Editor Awareness Watch Newsletter
Phone: 239-206-3450
eVoice: 800-858-1462

skype: virtualpivatelibrary


An up-dated data clean-up tool at Google-Refine
Nov 14th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Check out Google-Refine at



Google Refine is a power tool for working with messy data, cleaning it up, transforming it from one format into another, extending it with web services, and linking it to databases like Freebase.


Another fine tool for slicing and dicing data….
Nov 9th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

From …..

Find the names in your data with Mr. People

November 8, 2010 to Online Applications | Post on Twitter

Inspired by Shan Carter's simple data converter, appropriately named Mr. Data Converter, Matthew Ericson just put Mr. People online. The tool lets you paste a list of names, and it will parse the first and last name, suffix, title, and other parts for you. You can even have multiple names in a single row.

Years ago, while trying to clean up the names of donors in campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission, I hacked together a Perl module — loosely based on the Lingua-EN-NameParse module — to standardize names. One port to Ruby later, I've finally put together a Web front end for it.

Getting data in the right format, whether for analysis or visualization, can be a huge pain. Imagine. All the data you need is right in front of you, but you can't do anything with it yet, because as often is the case, it's not in a nice and pretty rectangular format. So anything that makes this easier and quicker is an instant bookmark for me.

[Mr. People via @mericson]


Agent-Based Modelling: The Next 15 Years
Nov 2nd, 2010 by Tom Johnson

The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation ( ) has been around for 13 years, and it has become increasingly important for analytic journalists who believe that simulation modeling is — and increasingly will be — an keystone perspective for serious, value-added journalism.  And it's one of the FREE e-journals available.  Support it if you can. 

In the meantime, if you're not familiar with agent-based modeling, check out this article by Lynne Hamill; it will point you to some useful concepts and tools:

Agent-Based Modelling: The Next 15 Years

by Lynne Hamill


This short note makes recommendations for the future direction of research in agent-based modelling (ABM). It is a personal view based on my experience as a policy adviser who has recently come to ABM. I suggest that to promote the use of ABM, the ABM community needs demonstrate the value of modelling to other social scientists by showing-by-doing and offering training projects; and to produce tools, guidance on good-practice and basic building blocks. Then the policy contexts most likely to benefit from ABM need to be identified along with any new data requirements, so that the usefulness of ABM can be demonstrated to policy analysts. This is, in my view, the challenge facing the ABM community for the next 15 years.


Race and ethnicity mapped by block
Sep 20th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Census tract data and maps, while better than nothing, can often deceive because the size of the tract is greatly influenced by population size, not area. It is not uncommon that natural and constructed barriers — mountains or freeways — influence the movements and spatial demographics of a tract. Ah, but BLOCK data, now there is some fine, fine-grained data that we can use to extract insights and meaning.
Once again, tips us off to a good visualization of population data and the resulting maps.


Race and ethnicity mapped by block

Sep 20, 2010 to Mapping | Post on Twitter

A taxonomy of transitions

Instead of breaking up demographics by defined boundaries, Bill Rankin uses dots to show the more subtle changes across neighborhoods in a map of Chicago using block-specific data US Census.

Any city-dweller knows that most neighborhoods don't have stark boundaries. Yet on maps, neighborhoods are almost always drawn as perfectly bounded areas, miniature territorial states of ethnicity or class. This is especially true for Chicago, where the delimitation of Chicago's official “community areas” in the 1920s was one of the hallmarks of the famous Chicago School of urban sociology.

Each dot represents 25 people of the map color's corresponding ethnicity.

Eric Fischer takes the next step and applies the same method to forty major cities. Here are the maps for Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, respectively. Same color-coding applies. You definitely see the separation, but zoom and you much more subtle transitions.

[Eric Fischer via Data Pointed]

Taking control of Google Maps
Sep 8th, 2010 by Tom Johnson

Patrick Cain, who correctly describes himself as “a journalist who makes maps for the Web,” has posted a couple neat sets of tips to his blog. Basically, they suggest ways to tweak some of Google's code to improve presentation. Check out his blog tips at


Simplifying map display

I’ve never been a fan of the way Google Maps handles local labels (neighbourhoods, for example) – they are often redundant, inconsistent and wrong, as well as cluttering the map visually.

These examples didn’t take long to collect:

Leslieville is so nice they labeled it twice:

Same with the Bridle Path, more or less:

Google has solved the unresolvable Beach vs. Beaches debate by using both labels:

Forest Hill South is not an ambition of well-off Annexites, but is actually north of Forest Hill:

Ramping up your statistical skills
Sep 3rd, 2010 by Tom Johnson

From FlowingData….

Statistical literacy guides for the basics

Sep 3, 2010 to Statistics | Post on Twitter

Guide to statistical charts - before and after

“You can get pretty far with data graphics with just limited statistical knowledge, but if you want to take your skills, resume, and portfolio to the next level, you should learn standard data practices. Of all places, UK Parliament has some short and free guides to help you with basic statistical concepts. They provide 13 notes, each only two or three pages long that can help you with stuff like how to adjust for inflation, confidence intervals and statistical significance, or basic graph suggestions [pdf]. I like.”



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