Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wayne State vist

I had a nice outing last week to visit with criminal justice and geography students at Wayne State College, about two hours due north of Lincoln.  Hard for me to imagine, but this was my first visit to Wayne, NE. It was a relaxing drive on two-lane state highways, with very little traffic, through the heart of Nebraska's eastern farmland. I always enjoy seeing farms, outbuildings, small villages, unincorporated places, and old cemeteries all of which were plentiful.

Particularly intriguing was a building visible from the highway in Snyder, NE that caused me to rubberneck and turn off Nebraska 79 momentarily. It looked like an Opera House, and my guess proved accurate. That short detour led to another turn-of-the century building, the Town Hall, right around the corner. These are a couple of genuine architectural gems.

At any rate, after a stop at Miss Molly's Coffee and a chat with a wonderful barista there, I made a presentation at the Wayne State student center about how GIS technology is used in public safety, focusing on some of the trends I've blogged about here on the Director's Desk with some regularity: the move to cloud services, and mobile applications. My visit made the student paper, The Wayne Stater, but I can assure you that the quote in the last sentence contains a word I haven't used in well over 30 years, other than to explain why I do not use it. No biggie, though. If this is the worst misquote of the week, I will count myself lucky.

On my way out, I stopped and had a chat with a Wayne police officer, who had stopped by the student center to catch up on a little paperwork. All in all, a nice evening, although the drive home in the dark was a little tedious. I got a few thank you emails from both faculty and students in the ensuing days, which was certainly appreciated.  One of the emails included a link to an interesting article about data visualization in Philadelphia, including this intriguing animation of homicides since 2006. The technique is similar to one I've used before.

Digging a little deeper, it appeared the animation by Mark Headd, Philly's chief data officer, was created with an open source web application, cartodb. I opened a free account, and uploaded a file last night of over 4,000 assaults in Lincoln that occurred in 2012. I then attacked that with cartodb's geocoding engine, which was not as accurate as our own, but still not bad. This would be a great way to create a simple map application from tabular data like that spreadsheet of your old high school classmates.


Anonymous said...

Murder map:
Thomasson Hair Studio: This one has a pair of scissors as an icon, very funny. Have to zoom to see.

Anonymous said...

Good old Wayne America! Go Cats!

Anonymous said...

Policeman, you would have said police officer or just officer.