Design Technology USA

NYC Murder Map

For those with a morbid sense of curiosity, or perhaps an overdeveloped spirit of adventure, take a look at the latest mashup application from the New York Times, the “New York City Homicides Map.”

nycmurdermapA murder near Sunset Park in Brooklyn. That’s my old apartment between the crosshairs, indicating its proximity to the crime.

This Flash application combined a database of information about murders from the past six years, including the age of victim and perp, primary motive, and weapon, with a cheery Google Maps interface. You can search the map by time of day, weapon used, or go directly to your street address and watch the violence rage around the little red crosshairs that indicate the location of your home.

These crosshairs might be a bit a too tongue-in-cheek for such a grizzly app.

Overkill aside (get it????), the ability to offer interactive maps of data like this has to be a huge factor in the survival of newspapers. The map links to an article about a related topic, and the article directs readers to visit the website and explore the database. Readers can also comment on their own observations of the data in the paper’s City Room blog.

How can newspapers offer online content of increasing quality, such as this murder map, without finding a way to monetize it? On the other hand, how can they afford to keep their doors open without the lure of high quality content?