CATEGORY: Data Mining and Visualization

REVIEWER: Dariush Salehi, senior IT engineer for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

BACKGROUND: The San Diego County Sheriff Department is the fourth largest sheriff's department in the United States. With a budget over $230 million and a staff of over 3,800, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department serves a population of 784,333, including nine contract cities.

PLATFORMS: HP LH Server, running Windows NT 4.0 Server, IIS 4.0.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The San Diego County Sheriff's Department uses NetCharts from Visual Mining to create professional looking bar, pie and line charts to manage jail population in our detention facilities. Prior to NetCharts, these charts were created manually every day. Now, these charts are a click away and available on our intranet. NetCharts saved 30 minutes of daily labor for our detention analyst.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: NetCharts works perfectly each time it is accessed on our intranet via an application service provider (ASP). In the future, we will be utilizing these applets in other projects for our Crime Analysis and Property and Evidence systems.

STRENGTHS: NetCharts has very flexible parameter passing and thorough documentation on how to use the parameters. By passing these parameters to the applets, we can customize our charts.

WEAKNESSES: The product could be enhanced by adding printing options which would allow the charts to be printed nicely.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected NetCharts because it was easy to install and included quality documentation with examples. We needed flexible parameters to customize our individual charts and the ability to overlay multiple charts on one page by using the right and left axes. NetChart provides those capabilities.

DELIVERABLES: NetCharts allows us to generate daily inmate population graphs for seven detention facilities in bar, pie and line charts broken down by gender and facility. We can also generate a trend line graph of our inmate population for a given date range using the data stored in an Oracle database; this allows us to do population analysis and forecasting in real time.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Visual Mining provided very good technical support. Their phone and e-mail support responded quickly.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is thorough and includes easy-to-follow examples. We would easily be able to run the product with only the documentation provided by Visual Mining.

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