The Research & Analysis Unit of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority offers a wide range of materials and resources that are useful to justice system practitioners, planners, researchers, students, and the general public. The Unit also serves as the state’s Statistical Analysis Center (SAC). This center is affiliated with and supported by the Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA), a national nonprofit organisation that promotes collaboration and exchange of information among state SACs, and acts as a liaison between state agencies and the US Department of Justice.
Mark Powers is a Research Analyst in the Unit, which collects data from over 15 agencies – each providing different data sets. “In effect we maintain a clearinghouse of criminal justice and risk factor datasets collected by other state agencies,” he says. As a result the unit has to handle a vast amount of data. In the past the Unit relied on static maps and reports produced by an in-house GIS system.
However, in order to meet its responsibility as a provider of useful information, it felt it should be providing data in a way that was more informative, interesting, and easy to navigate. “We wanted something interactive and, having seen InstantAtlas, we asked Geowise for a live demonstration via a webinar,” he says.
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