MPR has been doing a great job maintaining a Google Map of Minneapolis’ 2010 homicides. Here’s the map, as they present it on their site:


View 2010 Mpls. Homicides in a larger map

Each marker links to a story they’ve done related to that homicide. This is an excellent way to help people access archived content that may be of interest to them.

However, one issue I have with this map is probably being caused by Google Maps’ default settings. The map zooms in to show only the sub-section of the City of Minneapolis where homicides occur. A person looking at the above map may get the impression that nearly every neighborhood of Minneapolis has been a site of a homicide in 2010, which is nowhere near the case. Google, by default, automatically centers and selects a zoom level to fit the data set, so doesn’t take into account that this is an attempt to tell the story of a city.

To adjust this, click the “Customize and Preview Embedded Map” link, select the width and height you’d like to use, then adjust the zoom level and centering to create a map that includes the entire city. In this case, zooming out one level does the trick pretty well. Embedding that view of the map creates this perspective:


View 2010 Mpls. Homicides in a larger map

We can now see that Minneapolis has been homicide-free south of 35th Street, which represents a huge portion of the city’s population.

This could be improved further by adding a city boundary.

It’s a great start. A few small tweaks should help the data tell a more accurate story of the city.