HotSpot Detective v.2
Index > HotSpot Detective
Repeat location finder
New Options menu
HotSpot Detective surface mapper
Downloading a trial version
What is HotSpot Detective, and what's new in version 2?
HotSpot Detective is an add-on program for MapInfo. The software inserts itself in the main menu bar of MapInfo and provides the user with a range of useful crime analysis tools. The original version set the standard for interactive crime analysis, allowing the user to conduct complex crime analysis from within MapInfo, without the need to run additional external programs. Everything runs from within the user's copy of MapInfo.
This latest version of HotSpot Detective extends the functionality of the original program by adding sophisticated time analysis functions as well as the capability to automatically detect and map repeat victimization. Specifically, the new version now has the Repeat Location Finder, a Timeline graph facility, and a more enhanced and useful options menu for adjusting program functions. It also includes the option of adding a weighting variable to the surface mapping tool as well as mapping surfaces with the built-in mapping tool or generating MapInfo grid files - all in a range of colours.
Repeat Location Finder
The Repeat Location Finder searches through a table of crime event points and identifies the locations that have more than one incident at that place. The program identifies the x and y locations that have numerous records, so that the locations of repeat victimization can be mapped. Identifying and combating repeat victimization is believed to be one of the most effective methods of reducing crime in society. It also provides crime prevention officers and operational police with a clearer picture of victimization so that effective strategies can be targeted to the right place. The program is designed to be of maximum help to busy analysts by providing an automated mapping facility. After selecting the target table, a map of repeat victimization can be obtained within a couple of button clicks and in a few seconds. The Repeat Location Finder is new to version 2!
It is now possible to create Timeline graphs with HotSpot Detective. It is often necessary for police and crime prevention practitioners to evaluate the outcome of operations and policies. Charting the incidence of crime and calls for service can often be time-consuming and complicated, requiring the use of specialist analysis tools in Excel or writing macros in Access. HotSpot Detective provides a built-in tool that will automatically convert a date and time field from MapInfo into a table of weekly or daily values. It even draws the graph. The Timeline graph facility is designed for busy analysts so that they can quickly and easily plot the level of crime and incidents over longer time periods. The Timeline graph function is new to version 2!
Enhanced Options facility
New to version 2 is a suite of optional settings to enhance the operation of the program. Users can now change the folder that HotSpot Detective uses to store temporary files used for program calculations. This feature was added for users who were on secure systems and who did not necessarily have permission to write to their whole hard drive. This facility allows the user to tell HotSpot Detective which folder is available for temporary files.
The enhanced options also allows the user to switch on and off the autoload facility. No longer is it necessary to manually edit MapInfo setup files - HotSpot Detective does it automatically. That is not all. There are a number of standard warning dialogs that HotSpot Detective employs throughout operation to inform the users of various actions - such as when the program makes a layer hidden so that a new HotSpot surface is visible. The routine dialogs can now be switched off and on - making the program more user friendly, and removing dialogs that experienced users can find a little annoying.
HotSpot Detective surface mapper
Hotspots of crime are often lost in the melee of crime distributions when viewed as simply points. It is now well known that hotspot surface maps, sometimes called kernel density surfaces, are a vastly improved way of viewing high volume crime distributions. A stalwart of HotSpot Detective from the early days, the surface mapper hides a considerable amount of functionality and analytical ability behind a relatively simple user interface. One of the problems of many analytical tools for generating surfaces is that the user is faced with a myriad of decisions before a surface can be generated. These include making decisions about bandwidth and grid sizes. This can often be daunting for busy analysts. HotSpot Detective retains the ability to manually adjust all of the settings, but also has a default option. With the default option, the program makes all the decisions based on its own analysis of the crime patterns. It decides a suitable bandwidth and grid size.
New to version 2, the program allows the user to include a weighting variable. Sometimes it may be desirable to make surfaces not on the basis of 'one point equals one' but on different criteria. For example, the user might want to weigh the points based on a temporal weighting or perhaps on the value of goods stolen at a burglary. The weighting variable allows the user to select a field in the data set as the weighting variable.
Also new to version 2, a final dialog offers a range of colour bands and the option of creating a standard HotSpot Detective mapped surface, or a MapInfo grid surface.
HotSpot Detective version 2 retains its address scrubber. This program is customizable to local conditions and helps to improve geocoding rates. Users can edit a local table of names that the program searches for. These names can be replaced or deleted, as the user dictates. This means that addresses that are entered as "24 Smyth Street" can be searched and replaced with the correct "24 Smith Street". The program also allows all text prior to the first number to be automatically omitted, fixing problems such as "outside 24 Smith Street" and "near 24 Smith Street".
A new address field is created, enabling the user to see the original data, and the new field created by HotSpot Detective.
HotSpot Detective is the only program currently available that will allow users to conduct Aoristic analysis. This is a time analysis technique that enables users to gain a greater insight into the temporal patterns of crime. This is possible even with crime data that has no definitive crime time, but only a start time and an end time. The temporal charts allow you to select date and time columns and automatically draw charts that show the true temporal pattern of crime. Proportional distribution techniques are used to so that you can include your FROM or START dates and times, and your TO or END dates and times. This web site has more details on Aoristic analysis.
The HotSpot Detective toolbar
As well as installing the HotSpot menu option, the program also makes a toolbar available to the user. The toolbar contains all of the functions that are commonly used within the program, making them easily accessible for the busy analyst.
Trying out a limited version of HotSpot Detective version 2
A limited 'evaluation' version of HotSpot Detective is available to download from this web site. It is identical to the full version, except that analysis is only permitted on crime tables that have less than 200 points. It will also expire after a few weeks. All other features of the program work as the full version.
Downloading the limited version setup file
Please note that 'evaluation' means just that...no commercial or regular police intelligence use. To purchase the full version and avoid any embarrassing internal software audits, please contact the companies below.
This hsd.bin file will expire June 1st 2012
To purchase the full version
In Europe, contact Infotech Enterprises Europe at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the rest of the world, contact Spatial Decisions, at email@example.com
There is no academic/student discount version available at present.
Feedback on the program can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.