New York Crime Carto Data Map


New York Crime Carto Data Map

Show the crime data happen in New York during 2015

November 30, 2017

Xiaxin Chen


LIS-658-01 Carto Lab


Lab four, mainly to learn the Carto and use the Carto online service to build some visualization of symbol maps or choropleth maps based on the data we choose. I found the data which talks about the crime happen in New York in 2015, this data includes the location of the crime happen place and the type of the place, street, house, apt, inside or outside and so on. This data is trying to record the crime happen in New York in detail. And this data could be found on the website, CSV – Data – Catalog – ( I hope to use this data to try to understand how the Carto works and builds the beautiful and meaningful data visualization.

Three Inspired Visualization

The first example as shown in the Fig.0. is a choropleth map with several symbol maps. On the map of USA, the color here means both the number and the percentage of foreign-born population. From the blue to green, it means the number of foreign-born population per sq/mi in that area. And the opacity of the color means the percentage, like the solid top green, means there will be more than 50 foreign-born population, and this has around 40% in the whole population at that area per sq/mi. And the center USA map only shows how the foreign-born population distributed there. And the other maps surrounded by the circle symbol means their original born place. Like as Fig.0 shows, in 1900 most of the foreign-born population comes from the Europe. And as Fig.1 shows, in 2000, tons of Asia move to the USA. This is another interesting part of this map visualization, this visualization is an interactive one, we could select the different time on the timeline to check the change of the visualization. Because the data I choose also include the date and time, I also hope to make the similar visualization there in my lab work, while, it seems that it is not easy for Carto to implement this kind of function.




Then, another example is shown as Fig.2, this is a poster with several symbol maps and choropleth maps. This map is mainly talking about the electoral situation when Obama participate in the election in 2008. The blue and red strongly show the contrast between the Democratic and the Republican Party. And through the map, we could easily find that the coastal cities are more likely vote for the Democratic.


I choose this poster as the example because I think the maps here on this poster are very standard and representative. It shows the very basic way to utilize the geographical information to build the maps and express the complex metadata in the very simple way. Especially the three little maps visualization on the middle bottom of the poster, it uses the different visualization strategy to show the same thing which could be considered as the teaching materials to learn how to build the map visualization. And we could find another impressive thing there is that for those blue area, they are strongly supported to the Democratic in that year.


The third example is the fanciest visualization I have chosen for this lap. As the Fig.3 showing, this map is still talking about population, this time is about the reported sightings and the population density. Indeed, this is still a simple symbol map, however, the color code strategy let it has a totally different feeling than the other example


I present above. In addition, this map also contains the timeline, however, the author of this map only makes the line chart to show the change of the data, did not let the map interactive and how the data changing through the time.

Generally speaking, I choose those three as the inspired example for they could guide me how to work with the data to build different visualization and strategy. And the interactive map could remind me to consider more possibilities when building the map.  

Materials and Methods

My data is about the data talks about the crime happen in New York City in 2015. The data include the crime, when it was happened and reported, where it happened and the description of the place. Which is rich enough to build the map visualization. In fact, the original data of the file contains the data from 2000 – 2016, however, the Carto did not allow to upload such big dataset, then I cut the data down and only choose the 2015 data.


As the result, the visualization I build through the Carto is the Fig.4 showing. 


This is the first map I have done through the Carto. Here the different points mean the crime event, each point represents one event, and they are color coded by the place the crime happen. The color meaning you could find on the left top part of the map. There are totally 11 different place types here on this map. Generally, we could get the information that during 2015, crime can almost happen in every place of New York. Very limited places did not have the report yet, but we can not guarantee that those places are safe. But through this map, it is hard to distinguish the information about where the crime happens, it is a crime happen on the street or in an apartment. Because a lot of dots are overlapped there, and this makes those dots are hard to separate from others. In order to find the information, like in which place, it is easier to meet street crime than some places else. As Fig.5 shows, this map only shows the data of street crime happen in New York in 2015, the darker, means more crime happen in that place.

And I also do the same thing to check the other categories, as Fig.6, Fig.7 Fig.8 showing.










                                                             (Fig.5)                                                                                                                                                                                 (Fig.6)

                                                             (Fig.7)                                                                                                                                                                                 (Fig.8)

To compare these three of maps, we could find that on the north-west part of the New York City seems easy to happen the crime. And the residence-public house is much safer than other places, only limited crimes have been reported there.

Overall, maps are the strong and the effective visualization strategy to transfer the complex data with geo inform into the simple and readable images. And utilize the real map to render the data will easily help the viewers build the relationship between the data and where the data is talking about. Imaging that if we have to use the text and diagram to describe the location, viewers should take much more time to think about where the place is. Therefore, in my opinion, maps are super useful and have the very important positions in the visualization strategy methods.


This time is a good experience for me to use Carto to use the data to create different maps. But it is a pity that the data I could import to the Carto is limited, and I did not figure out how to make an interactive map with the timeline and data changing through the Carto. I think this will be my research direction of Carto in the future.