Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Problems with Geocoding

Here's an interesting problem with mapping crime statistics:

CNet reports that a new online crime mapping tool in Los Angeles shows a huge crime wave right next to the new police headquarters building. The problem turns out to be the default for addresses of crimes.

We had the same problem in Jacksonville when looking at prostitution statistics -- the most "popular" street corner for the trade appeared to be within police headquarters. Again, it was a data coding error -- blank address fields defaulted to police headquarters.

Our experience (and now this story from LA) is a reminder that our data systems are only as good as our inputs, and as we start using data in new and creative ways, we are bound to uncover all kinds of errors that will need to be addressed properly. (Pun only kind of intended.)

Have you seen similar issues in your community?

(Hat tip: Slashdot)


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