Thursday, April 14, 2005

Geocoding Investigations

I have a strong feeling that services like Blog Map, which seems to be based on Microsoft technology, and Google Maps, could be very useful for Police investigations.

I wrote a paper, "RSS at the Tipping Point" in 2003, where I talked about the idea of Public Facing Investigation Blogs.

What I said then was

RSS feeds are often associated with Weblogs. Weblogs are online chronological journals that are used for a variety of personal and professional purposes. They are a hugely popular Internet phenomenon.

A Weblog could be a very useful tool for distributing information to the public and the media for ongoing investigations.

The Surrey Police Miller Dowler page on looks very like a Weblog.

Associating an RSS feed with this page would enable journalists and interested members of the public to follow the case. The likelihood that local Webloggers would link back to the page (a practice called Blogrolling) would also increase the visibility of the information.

I noted last month that, after all this time, the Police may have made a break through in the Milly Dowler case and were looking for information about a car that was at the scene of the probable abduction three years ago.

Blog Map lets you:

  • Geo-code a blog feed
  • Browse blogs by location
  • Search for local blogs
  • Find blogs in your neighborhood
  • Get local BlogRoll in OPML format

Wouldn't that be tremendously useful for maintaining public attention on a long running investigation with its own weblog and feed?

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