I'm not talking about MapQuest-like programs that guide people from point A to B. Rather, I am referring to maps that reveal the kind of news that doesn't fit in the newspaper, like the robbery at Point A last night, or the selling price of the Stephens' house at Point B.
Every few weeks it seems there's another map of this sort.
A favorite is the LAPD Crime Maps site. Alleged crimes from throughout LA are charted here. Want to know how many cars got stolen last week off your block? Here you go. But, be prepared to spend some time if you want to calculate your own crime rate. Only seven days worth of data is visible in one go. Far more information than that will be required to conduct a meaningful analysis. I typed up Wilshire and Westwood boulevards and found that crime on the West Side clung to Interstates 405 and 10 this week. Hmm.
Real estate maps are another marvel. I checked out www.housingmaps.com, which combines Google Maps with Craigslist ads for home sales, rentals and sublets. Search for LA homes priced at less than $100,000. Feel your heart race? Of course, the seller likely entered arbitrary numbers where the software sought a price. I won't be buying a $10,000 house in Bel Air after all.
The LA County Assessor's Property Search has a lot of great local info in map format too, but it also goes to great lengths to tell users "some information may not be accurate." I punched up 202 W. 1st St. and found a 253,565-square-foot structure built in 1934 that has no bathrooms.
It's the address of the Los Angeles Times.
Something tells me Gladys' info was more reliable than some of this stuff.