Azavea Awarded National Science Foundation SBIR Phase IIB Grant for HunchLab™ to Support Geographic Forecasting of Crime Events

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 1, 2010 — (PRNewswire) — Azavea (formerly Avencia), an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development company has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase IIB grant, totaling $216,000, by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop advanced crime risk forecasting capabilities within HunchLab, the firm's web-based geographic crime data analysis and early warning software system.  HunchLab provides advanced crime mapping and automated notification to authorities about changes in the geographic patterns of crime incidents.  The system is targeted at the law enforcement agencies and enables police officers to develop and evaluate hunches about geographic patterns in criminal activity in the communities they patrol. The Phase IIB award will be used to add new geographic forecasting features to the software as well as develop enhancements to existing functionality.

Azavea is collaborating with Dr. Jerry Ratcliffe from Temple University, a leading expert in statistical crime analysis.  Over the past several years, Dr. Ratcliffe has worked with academic colleagues to develop statistical techniques for detecting "near repeat" patterns in crime.  Dr. Ratcliffe has discovered that certain types of crime exhibit a "contagion" effect.  For instance, a burglary incident will result in an elevated risk that subsequent burglaries will occur within a couple of blocks and weeks following the original event.  This elevated risk can be measured and used by law enforcement officials to deploy resources more effectively.  Azavea is building on Dr. Ratcliffe's work to make this forecasting technique available within HunchLab.  Two additional crime pattern forecasting techniques, focused on seasonal variations in crime and daily workload forecasts, are also under development as well as enhancements to the early warning system to support real-time visualization, animation and heat maps.  

"We're excited to be working with leading criminologists and geographers to implement cutting-edge risk forecasting research in HunchLab.  By providing agencies with tools that do more than simply map the historic frequency of crime incidents at a particular geographic location, we're helping law enforcement agencies to focus their limited resources in the areas where they can best improve public safety," says Robert Cheetham, President and CEO of Azavea.

HunchLab is supported by the Small Business Innovation Research program of the National Science Foundation, Directorate for Engineering, Division of Industrial Innovations and Partnerships, Award Number (IIP-0750507).

About Azavea

Azavea is an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development firm specializing in the creation of location-based web and mobile solutions, as well as geospatial analysis services to enhance decision-making. Azavea is committed to working on projects with a strong social value component in order to promote the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant, and sustainable communities.  Azavea is a certified B Corporation. For more information, visit

If you would like more information about HunchLab or to schedule a demonstration of the software, please contact Jeremy Heffner at (215) 702 - 7712 or email Email Contact.


National Science Foundation
Abby Fretz, Azavea
Phone: +1-215-701-7503
Email Contact

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