Visualising space and time in crime patterns: A comparison of methods

Chris Brunsdon*, Jonathan Corcoran, Gary Higgs

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    111 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous research exploring space-time patterns has focused on the relative merits and drawbacks of the effectiveness of static maps vis-à-vis interactive dynamic visualisation techniques. In particular, they have tended to concentrate on the role of animation in interpretation of patterns and the understanding of underlying factors influencing such patterns. The aim of this paper is to broaden this debate out to consider the effectiveness of a wider range of visualisation techniques in permitting an understanding of spatio-temporal trends. The merits of three visualisation techniques, (map animation, the comap and the isosurface) are evaluated on their ability to assist in the exploration of space-time patterns of crime disturbance data. We conclude that each technique has some merit for crime analysts charged with studying such trends but that further research is needed to apply the techniques to other sources of crime data (and to other sectors such as health) to permit a comprehensive evaluation of their respective strengths and limitations as exploratory visualisation tools.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages24
    Specialist publicationComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


    • Animation
    • Comaps
    • Crime mapping
    • Geo-visualisation
    • Isosurfaces
    • Spatio-temporal visualisation


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