Oakland Crimespotting is an amazing interactive map that provides comprehensive information about the latest crimes in the Oakland area. The presentation is fluid and seamless -- you can use the sliders to adjust the time span, zoom out to see a larger area, and select the crimes you want to see. You can even click on each crime to find out more information about it, like the date and time it was committed as well as the actual case number. There's also a way for you to set up crime alerts to be delivered to you via RSS or email.
This is a project by the folks over at Stamen Design, the guys who designed the Digg visualizers as well as much of Pownce, the latest social network cum microblogging service to hit the Web 2.0 scene. The crime information is collected via CrimeWatch, the City of Oakland Police Department's community crime mapping web site, and presented in a much more interactive and appealing way. You can read the more detailed technical information on how they did it over on Michal Migurski's blog.
They created the site because they felt the map-first approach is a much more natural way for people to navigate the crime information, and I have to say, I definitely agree. This is a perfect example of using Web 2.0 technologies for public service, and I only wish there were more of these.[via Leslie Chicone's Pownce page]