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Peter Gudge
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 3206

Understanding Hotspots


Understanding Hotspots (1 day GIS-based course for users of MapInfo, ArcView, ArcGIS, or Cadcorp SIS)

“Very practical – this course is a must for all intelligence analysts” Police Intelligence Analyst

This one day hands on GIS-based course introduces intelligence/crime/community safety analysts and researchers to techniques for identifying and understanding hotspots and other geographic patterns of crime.  It provides delegates with a comprehensive understanding of hotspots, covering analytical techniques and the theory that underpin them.

The course is held at our offices in London, but can also be delivered at your site for a minimum of 6 staff.

Understanding hotspots (1 day GIS-based course for users of MapInfo, ArcView, ArcGIS, or Cadcorp SIS)

Aimed at: Police and CSP analysts, researchers and information officers
Interest groups: GIS-based mapping, hotspots, spatial statistics, thematic mapping, kernel density estimation

Entry Requirements: At least a foundation in GIS software. The course is only suitable to users of Mapinfo, ArcView, ArcGIS, or Cadcorp SIS.

The course components include,

  • Theoretical principles for understanding hotspots: This module defines the term ‘hotspot’, explores the diagnostics of hotspots and discusses several key spatial theories that can be used to help explain why a hotspot may exist.
  • Nearest neighbour and standard distance statistics for describing crime patterns – NN and SD statistics can provide a useful insight into the types of geographic patterns that exist in crime data before the data is displayed on a map.  For example, these tests can be used to explore if evidence of spatial clustering exists and how dispersed the distribution is relative to other crime types or crime periods.
  • Point maps – Point mapping is a common means for displaying crime events, but difficulties may arise in using this technique for understanding hotspots when handling large volumes of data or if locations of repeat events exist.  This module explores the practical uses of this technique.
  • Geographic boundary thematic mapping – thematic mapping of crime data, aggregated to geographical administrative boundary areas such as Census Output Areas, wards, or police beats, is a popular method for visually crime patterns.  However, problems do exist with this technique that can cause misleading interpretations of where crime may be most prevalent.  This can be due to freedom of choice in the different thematic range settings that are possible for displaying comparative levels of crime and from the problems associated with a concept called the Modifiable Area Unit Problem.  This module demonstrates how the technique can be used, and discusses its practical application.
  • Quadrat thematic mapping – Quadrat thematic mapping is a technique that uses uniform grid cells (quadrats) of a specified user width to thematically shade crime patterns.  The advantages and disadvantages of this technique are explored for helping to determine and understand hotspots of crime.
  • Kernel density estimation – KDE is a method that aggregates points within a specified search radius, and creates a smooth continuous surface that represents the density of events distributed across the area.  This module takes the delegate through tools that can be used to generate KDE hotspot maps and discusses the technique’s application.  This includes discussion on the parameter settings that are required for KDE.

Course tutor: Lisa Tompson

Understanding Hotspots

6 October 2010

"Excellent course and excellent trainer - went at my speed and explained
things if I was not sure"
CSP Analyst

29 October, 2009

“The course tutor took time to break down the info so that I could gain a better understanding.”  Partnership Officer

“Should be compulsory for Intel Analysts.”  Police Analyst

“It was good and informative and will help us greatly in the future.  Thanks!”  Police Analyst

30 June 2009

" Very well put together and enjoyed being in a small group."

4 February, 2009

“Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and engaging.”  Serious Crime Officer

“Very good style and teaching – coped with my slowness.”  Serious Crime Officer

“A very well run course, targeted at the right level and running at the correct speed.”  Council GIS Officer

Course Dates:

Next date TBC

Course Cost: £475 per delegate

Group Discount: 10% discount for bookings of two or more. To qualify, all group delegates must be booked at the same time.

Accommodation: UCL has a number of residences that are available to book when courses are held in the summer months.  These are available from £45 per night.  We recommend Frances Gardner House or James Lighthill House due to their proximity to the JDI and their facilities.  Please visit this site ( for more details and to make any accommodation bookings. We advise booking early.  The accommodation is basic, but clean and fantastic value for London.

For something a bit grander we recommend the Cartwright Gardens Apartments:

For short stays:

For longer stays:

Page last modified on 07 nov 12 11:46 by Kirstie Hampson