Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Robert Stimson
Chapter 24: Web-based GIS to support visualization and analysis of community variations in crime
The development and increased use of geographic information systems (GIS) in policing has intensified the demand for public access to digital spatial information. For example, those in the academic arena require access to spatial information to augment their learning, teaching and research endeavours, while the general public need spatially related crime information related to their local area or region to inform decisions that impact upon their everyday living (for example, safety precautions, choice of residential suburb). Much of this information exists, such as the 2001 Census from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2003), crime data available on the Queensland Police Service (QPS) website (http://www.police.qld.gov.au/), and the Atlas of Crime in Australia 2000 (AIC, 2000), yet often the information is not in a form that is easily accessible or comprehendable, requiring an understanding of and access to relatively complex commercial GIS packages. In recent years, police and researchers have worked closely together to develop publicly accessible web-based GIS applications for crime mapping, crime analysis, community mapping and information sharing (see, e.g., Police Foundation, 2001; Shyy et al., 2005; Chainey and Smith, 2006). Dragicevic (2004) highlights how web-based GIS has enhanced the open use of GIS in three main directions including: · spatial data access and dissemination; · spatial data exploration and geovisualization; and · spatial data processing, analysis and modelling.
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