What's all the fuss about the Chicagocrime.org Google hack. While this site gets all the press the Chicago Police Department has been mapping for years and putting it on the web for all to see.
The press likes to talk about the great Google hacks that are starting to pop up on the net with the most popular discussion seeming to center on Chicagocrime.org. This is a simple hack in which Adrian Holovarty has taken publicly available crime data and mapped it for all to see using Google hacks. While at first blush this seems an innovative use of Google maps to provide information to the public that is not readily available, it is neither new nor innovative. The Chicago Police Department has been providing the public with mapped crime data for years and has actually been quite innovative in its use of mapping and GIS as an agency overall. Moreover, the Chicago Police Department actually provides a disclaimer about the police data used in the mapping and some basic context about the data that Chicagocrime.org seems to forget about. In fact if read carefully the Chicagocrime.org site actually references the ICAM site as the source of its data and suggests you read the disclaimer on the ICAM site to better understand the data. Overall, I think that the Chicago ICAM system actually provides a better product than Chicagocrime.org. While I applaud the idea of Google hacks as a way to bring non-georeferenced data to the public in innovative ways, I don't really care much for people getting lots of press for services that are not new or all that innovative. Just my two cents.