Today, with mixed feelings, we launched the new Atascadero Crime Report. On one hand, it’s great that we’ve launched it, the database that powers it is robust, and it seems to be working well. On the other hand, we’ve managed to include maps for the
In order to explain this catastrophic and seemingly unforgivable failure, I need to explain how the systems work. First off, while the results appear almost identical, the code powering the SLO and Paso crime maps are completely different. This is because we manually retrieve a text file from the SLO PD, and we receive a PDF file from Paso PD. This is because of differences in the computer systems used by the respective departments. The
When we receive the PDF from the PD, it is run through a script that converts the PDF into raw text. That raw text is parsed and then the data is inserted into a database. Next, system attempts to geocode the addresses through either Google or Yahoo’s geocoding tools. Any address that can’t be found will be flagged by the system so that someone in the online team can manually plot the point. Manually plotted points are then added to another table in the database that contains points of interest in that city; those points will then be cross referenced for next time an address is not found so that we don’t need to re-plot say “
Still with me? Fantastic. So the problem we had with
I don’t blame the police department for this; they don’t control the rate at which new addresses are added to Google and Yahoo’s maps. They use business names because that’s what works for them. I’d also like to thank all of the police departments we’ve worked with for helping us get our maps launched.
I’ll continue to work on getting a map feature working for