The local CBC has produced a Google map of homicides in the metro Vancouver area that’s worth a glance.

Each of the plotted points has a brief story about the killing — some with images — and links to CBC coverage. It’s also a reassuring reality check: in an area with a population of more than two million, there have been only 36 homicides so far this year.

More could have been done with it. Right now, the “pins” come in only two colours (red for the most recent slaying and green for everything else). The stats could be broken done further: perhaps a separate colour for cases where there has been a suspect charged, or different markers for categories of homicides (gang-related, etc.).

The use of Google maps as the base for storytelling isn’t new. In fact, it’s the type of thing that, by now, should be a no-brainer for local media: a standing feature that’s easy to produce and update. Despite that, the fact this caught me eye shows how unusual such storytelling is in the local media.

Matter of fact, the use of maps is inexplicably rare, given how easy they are to produce. The lede story at the Vancouver Sun website right now is about a landslide that has cut the highway between Vancouver and Whistler. No locator map.

Update: Turns out there is a Google map showing the location of the slide. It comes not from legacy media, but from blogger Robert Ballantyne. C’mon newspapers, if a blogger can do it….

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