Visual Analysis – It Would be a Crime not to Try

Here is an interesting link for you (unless you are American in which case try here).  It is a crime map of the UK, it shows you where crime occurs, have a good look, where is it safer to live?  Nottingham or Padstow?  The answer is fairly obvious, in-fact a one eyed drug dealer in a get away car would be able to tell you the right answer.

The information is beautifully clear.

If you were a policeman how would you use this information?

  • Allocate police patrols
  • Set up neighbourhood watches
  • Work with community leaders
  • Educate children

Given half an hour or so I am sure you could come up with multiple suggestions.

Visual analysis doesn’t just work for the police, here are a couple of ideas for you

  • Get all your staff to walk through your work area putting red dots on anything that doesn’t work.
  • Draw up a map of your IVR (automated telephone system) and highlight the points where customers hang up, the more hang ups the bigger the dot.
  • Put up a timeline of the time of day and add a push pin for every customer who is waiting to be served

Do you see any clusters?  Anything you really ought to be worrying about?

Visual analysis, it would be a crime not to give it a go.

Visual Analysis Stop Theif

Read another opinion

Image by swanksalot


  1. Hello James
    Data is meaningless to us human beings. It really is and I should know as I once stopped the production of all reports produced by the finance function to see who would complain: less than 20% of the people asked about the missing reports. The rest had been putting them in the bin anyway so by not sending them out we saved everyone effort!

    As your rightly point out if we want to make data useful we have put it into a frame that is intuitive for people. And maps are a great way of doing that. IN fact any meaningful visual is great because our minds are great at working with and making sense of pictures.


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