Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Case Crime Map

I was speaking to Brian Beck the other day and asked what he's been working on. It turns out, he's writing a web application that uses Google Maps to display locations of crime incidents on the Case campus. He parses the information on the campus security website and pulls down geocoded GPS information from the Case Wiki. It turns out that he spent the better part of a day recently logging the GPS location of the center of every parking lot on campus. Well, somebody has to do it!

What are the nitty gritties? Here's what Brian has to say:

First it tries to grab the wiki page by the location name. This is desirable over grabbing markers.php because the location is often abbreviated (the BRB, for example) and our wiki has lots of redirects for such abbreviations.

If the wiki page doesn't exist or isn't geocoded, it uses a regular expression to search for a street address (or even just a street name). If found, it queries Google's geocoder and only uses the return value if it's an exact match.

So there are a lot of locations missing coordinates from these two methods. I'm going to geocode more locations on the wiki, and probably manually do the rest (things that wouldn't be useful as wiki pages). Or let users give coordinates to the missing ones.

So, there you have it!

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