Amethyst launches new Cornwall Crime Explorer using InstantAtlas: beyond crime mapping to visual reporting

EDINBURGH, UK – 04 April 2009 --  Amethyst, the Information Hub for a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in Cornwall UK, has recently launched their Cornwall Crime Explorer based on InstantAtlas from GeoWise.  The aim of the Cornwall Crime Explorer is to report crime statistics at a local scale to meet the needs of both the local public sector partners and citizens.

The Cornwall Crime Explorer is the result of a collaborative effort between Amethyst and GeoWise to produce a Rich Internet Application (RIA) for crime reporting.  It reflects the years of experience of the Amethyst team in crime mapping combined with the application of sound statistical practices and data visualization principles from business intelligence dashboards.

Data are presented in interactive tables, charts and maps on a single page to assist interpretation.  Commentary taken directly from static reports is embedded in a context-sensitive manner into the application to help people understand what they are looking at.  Detailed background mapping from the Ordnance Survey (OS) provides a rich geographic context to the thematic mapping.  Data are easily updated using Microsoft Excel.

Phil Davies, Project Manager for Amethyst, explains: “We have tried to create an interactive picture of Cornwall that allows users to compare any locality with all others.  We wanted users to be able to understand the levels of crime for different crime types and to appreciate how these levels varied over a much wider area. We are also seeking to communicate how crime levels change over time.  We believe the Cornwall Crime Explorer is a tool that both analysts and casual data users can utilise to support them in an initial ‘scan’ of the crime landscape.”

“Overall” says Davies, “we are very pleased with the presentational capabilities of the Cornwall Crime Explorer and we hope this will lead to greater empowerment through more effective engagement. Amethyst see InstantAtlas as well suited to filling the gap between internal and external crime data reporting.  The lessons learnt from the project are universally applicable to anyone delivering crime data online.”

John Maslen, Government Solutions Director at GeoWise adds: “Development of the Crime Explorer has been a collaborative process.  It demonstrates what can be achieved with limited budget using data visualization tools, built as (RIAs), designed to communicate local statistics.  It contributes good practice in public crime reporting applications for other police forces and public safety agencies. I believe the Crime Explorer demonstrates an evolution from traditional ‘crime mapping’ to effective ‘crime reporting.’”

The Cornwall Crime Explorer is available at: of InstantAtlas applied to the publication of crime statistics are available from the Crime Mapping and Reporting Resource Pack at


A detailed case study for the Cornwall Crime Explorer is available from

About Amethyst
Amethyst is the Information Hub on behalf of the Cornwall Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.  It was set up in 2001 in response to the growing demand to collect and share local data to support Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) in reducing crime and the fear of crime.  They were one of the early innovators in the area of data sharing and crime mapping in the UK.  They established a relatively sophisticated reporting solution which went live in 2002.  Their work was seen as best practice and referenced in GIS and Crime Mapping (Chainey & Ratcliffe, 2005) and Crime Mapping - Improving Performance (Police Standards Unit, 2005 - see -  Phil Davies, the Amethyst Team Coordinator, has been with the project from inception and is well-known within the UK crime mapping community.


About InstantAtlas and GeoWise
GeoWise Ltd’s InstantAtlas visualization software helps information analysts and data professionals create and manage interactive web applications that improve the management and visualisation of statistical data, and engage people in more informed geography-based decision-making.  The GeoWise team has a unique blend of skills in data visualization, software, geography and statistics.








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