Home > Articles > Programming

  • Print
  • + Share This

Law and Order, GIS Style

I'd like to begin by introducing a computer game uniquely designed to illustrate the concepts and techniques used in more serious real-world crime-related applications.

SimCity, for those who haven't had the pleasure, is a popular computer game that lets players build and manage a city. Several "layers" (or themes, as they're sometimes called) of spatial information are available to help the player determine what course of action to take, depending on the player's analysis of the data. Available game themes include traffic flow rates, pollution levels, and criminal activity, to name a few. The player acts as the mayor to make decisions on how to deal with the city's problems, using these layers and the recommendations of advisors to determine and implement correct policies.

Like the game, real-world businesses or government departments rely on the spatial location of several entities to perform their functions. Transportation managers analyze traffic patterns to determine the performance of the system, environmental or pollution experts make recommendations to help improve air and water quality, and law enforcement officials develop strategies to fight crime.

Everyone is familiar with scenes in TV detective shows where detectives use a map and colored tacks to show the location of crimes with similar characteristics, or modus operandi. The detectives analyze the map and the points representing crimes, trying to find out where the next crime might occur, which shop owners police officers should interview, or where the suspect might be hiding. This type of point data is an example of a vector dataset. Other information can be generated in vector format, with representations in line or polygon format. For example, transportation engineers can represent traffic flow as a line with direction and magnitude—the direction of traffic and the volume of vehicles over time. (And you thought you'd never use high school physics again!)

In SimCity, one of the available data layers is a thematic map of criminal activities. The density of criminal activity is mapped, somewhat like a weather map on the Weather Channel, with areas of high crime rates drawn or colored in dark shades, and areas of lower crime rates in progressively lighter shades of the same color. The data used in the game is an example of a raster dataset, which is a grid or cell-based dataset in which each cell contains a value. Thematic maps can also be created as vector datasets. Figure 1 shows two thematic maps, the first a vector population-density map of Colorado using polygon data, and the second a fictional raster thematic map of the crime rate for an area. In the top map, population densities for each county in the state range from high (dark orange) to low (light orange). In the bottom map, high-crime cells are represented with dark red, with decreasing rates represented by progressively lighter shades. These are among the simplest kinds of analyses and displays that can be done—researchers continually come up with more interesting and complex methods to help solve more sophisticated problems.

Figure 1

Sample thematic maps.

Real-world law enforcement officials also have a wealth of spatial and associated attribute data available to help fight crime. These data layers would generally be created to help solve problems on one or several different scales, or, as I like to think of it, relative "areal" extents. A high-level official, such as a mayor, would generally be interested in the crime rate for the entire city, which is a large-scale issue, while a district police chief would be interested in the criminal activity within his or her district boundaries, a smaller-scale issue. Those who deal with water pollution are often interested in scales ranging from small scale, such as the Red River watershed, to large scale, such as the Great Lakes basin.

After determining that the city can afford it, questions such as "Where should we build a new police station to fight the crime problem?" or "What neighborhoods would benefit the most from increased funding and support?" can be answered, in part, by analyzing available GIS data. Subsequent mappings and analyses can help determine whether the optimal location was chosen, if further funding to the station is required, and so on.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020