Our office almost seems awash in County maps. Maybe awash is hyperbole, but how often do you get to use words like that. Actually we have 4 large (like 3 X 4) maps, not counting our even bigger detailed map of the county. The reason for the 4 maps is that sometimes is “better” to look at something graphically than just numbers and letters on a sheet of paper or computer screen.
We started with one plotting the locations of illicit drug overdose deaths (primarily those involving cocaine and heroin). We have 3 years of data on one map and another with stick pins for this year as we add deaths. It is interesting to see the dispersion across the county of these cases. They aren’t in just the “bad neighborhoods” (I live in Waukegan, considered by many as one of those “bad neighborhoods”), but also in many affluent areas of the county. Free time and disposable income are contributing factors.
The other 2 maps were projects we gave our interns with 4 years of data on each. One map is violent deaths, gun-related and other homicides, along with house fire deaths. The other has car crashes and train related deaths. The violent deaths do clump more in certain communities verifying what most folks would suspect, but it is interesting to see it mapped. The car crash map tells us that there are no particularly fatal intersections or stretches of road that we ought to push to fix.
I think it is interesting stuff and a nice way to get a handle on a bit of the information that flows through the Coroner’s Office.