for CI

CI High-
Level Results

External Sources

Professors | Print | Electronic | Government | Interaction Methods


Staff Advisors

We are grateful to our two main project advisors at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Robert Kraut, and Dr. Carolyn Rose. We pumped them for information, knowledge, and feedback on a continuous basis - at the minimum weekly.

Other Professors

When our initial project scope included some more dazzling visualizations we spoke with Mark Derthick, a data visualization professor also at CMU. Although not his speciality, he was able to point us in the direction of some other sources and at least one paper.

Derthick Reference



1. Henry, Vincent E. "The CompStat Paradigm: Management Accountability in Policing, Business and the Public Sector." Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications Inc., 2003.

"The CompStat Paradigm" was a great introduction into the methodologies and thought behind the development of the CitiStat Process. Focusing primarily on the success of CitiStat's pioneer the NYC Police Department, the book outlines the goals of the process which were a constant goal to which our team strived. They are (from pg 318):

  • timely and accurate intelligence
  • effective tactics
  • rapid deployment of personnel and resources
  • relentless follow-up and assessment to ensure that the problem has been solved
2. Rule, James B., Debra Gimlin, and Sylvia J. Sievers. "Computing in Organizations: Myth and Experience." New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2002.

3. Laudon, Kenneth C., and Jane P. Laudon. "Management Information Systems: Organization and Technology." Fourth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1996.

4. O'Brien, James A. "Management Information Systems: A Managerial End User Perspective." Second Edition. Boston, MA: Irwin, 1993. 5. McLeod Jr., Raymond, and George Schell. "Management Information Systems." Eighth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

We were advised to read the Pittsburgh Post Gazette early on in our project. The reasoning for this is that as five non-Pittsburgh natives, it was important for us to get a feeling for what was happening around Pittsburgh to better understand the city culture outside of CitiStat and DPW.



Early in the project when considering other visualization ideas for the city of Pittsburgh, it was only right to go to one of the most popular games ever: SimCity. Although a game, it provides some very interesting and appealing visualization techniques for a very diverse audience in terms of education and tech savvy.

SimCity Land Value Display
SimCity Land value

SimCity Traffic Density Display
SimCity Traffic Density

Pivot Charts

Pivot tables are interactive charts that provide the ability for different functions including sum, average, and count. They are especially useful in finding relationships between data. We looked at the interaction of creating a pivot chart in Excel as an example of data manipulation. At the time we were specifically interested in the click and drag interaction and the data organization. Some of these ideas were applied in a few of our initial prototypes.

Example Pivot Chart
Pivot Example


Quicken was another area that was considered for ideas because of its ability to track items over time, create reports, and graphing capabilities.

Quicken Example Report
Quicken Example


Think of dashboards like those that are in your car: instruments that provide real-time up to date information regarding what you need tracked. The same is true for electronic dashboards and these were considered for design ideas when building MetroViz for our client. Dashboards provide the best available information quickly and efficiently based, in some applications on the users activities at that moment. In the end, our final product does not require real-time information, but speed of producing charts and visual information became a major goal for our final design. We found the following links helpful in our consideration of dashboards:



Baltimore is widely considered the front runner in implementing the CitiStat process and making it work for large cities. They are very open to outsiders coming in to talk to people about the process and attend meetings, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to take advantage of their hospitality. We spent a day there listening to a meeting and had five meetings afterwards. While also educational, they seemed to believe that what we were trying to accomplish and the matter in which we were doing it was right on target.

For more information:


We attempted to contact other cities close by while trying to schedule time with Baltimore and to have an idea how more comparable cities to Pittsburgh were tracking their performance metrics. Unfortunately, Wheeling is a little too small as they continue to use paper mostly and do not use mapping technology as they felt like they were small enough that they could keep a handle on "hot zones" and complaints. However, they did use Cartegraph which is a tool specifically for Departments of Public Works and does similar functions to that of Pittsburgh's Foreman System.

U.S. Census Bureau

We also considered talking briefly with the US Census Bureau about how they track so much data and metrics over time. They use a fully interactive website, developed with a Java backend to pull information from a data library that includes information from different agencies. Basically they had developed a fully distributed system to wrap other systems. It sounded very much what we were trying to develop (and did develop) but in the end would likely not have been as maintainable for the city or included an alternative mechanism for inputting data into the system which we needed.

For further information:

Interaction Methods

In considering how we wanted the graphs to look in our final deliverable, as well as considering all the different types of ways to interact with information to create graphs we searched a variety of sources for examples of graphs. We searched through financial websites, statistical packages, government sites, and on. We compiled them into a broad range of possibilities to inspire creativity in our design. The following are just a few examples.

Altek Solutions Graphing Interface
Altek Solutions

Apple Financial Chart
Apple Financial Chart

US Census Bureau Tiger Maps
Tiger Maps

Coxcomb Spie Chart
Spie Chart

Bar Chart Linked to Excel
Bar Linked to Excel

Statistical R Box Plot
Statistical R Box Plot

Statistical R Topographical Map
Statistical R Topographical Map

VisualCalc Dashboard

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© Carnegie Mellon University, Masters of Human-Computer Interaction, CitiStat project: Peter Centraf, Lisa Edelman, Lorrianne Nault, Matt Sharpe, Adrian Tang