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back to article New police crime-mapping system crashes on first outing

The shiny new police crime-mapping system popped up yesterday – and promptly fell back down again. This is the long-awaited interactive mapping system, launched this week, and designed to allow individuals to compare crime figures across England and Wales. In practice, widescale public interest in the site has been its undoing …

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Anonymous Coward

Nice Declan McManus reference there

That is all

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FAIL

Of course it did.

That was always the plan, report it here, watch it crash, report that it crashed, get a overinflated feeling of a wannbe slashdot....

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FAIL

This always happens

Is it just me, or does this happen to every single interesting website ever released? I think a reasonable assumption these days for a website that has a reasonable chance of being popular, is take your estimate for how much traffic you're going to get, and triple it, at least for the release date. A product should never be so good that it doesn't work, that's not a great business model.

This goes doubly so for taxes, if you give people the power to file online, you'd better believe every person in the country with a computer is going to file on the due date.

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FAIL

Bandwidth

You can have all the bandwidth in the world and it won't help if your database server isn't up to the job of supporting sufficient simultaneous queries to serve the site to a large number of users.

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I managed to get on

and found out I live in a hotbed of criminality. sweet. That explains my silly insurance premiums.

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Yey!

Performance testing consultant here, this kind of high-profile failure is what pays my wages. Keep up the good work UK.gov

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Even as we speak they are bringing in additional hamsters

to keep throughput up in the web servers.

Run hammy run!

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Can't you just

type shithole,england into Google Maps?

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Black Helicopters

Try and prevent that crash with a speed camera

I'm sure the Police will have speed camera's all over the site to try and cut down the amount of crashes.

User seen coming in with a 20mb Broadband, obviously a Pirate. 3 Points and a letter from the RIAA/FACT and who ever else we are working for now.

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Coat

The real meaning...

of

"The issues are being worked on and will be resolved as soon as possible."

is

"We're waiting for the initial interest to die down."

Mine's the one with the heavy dose of cynicism in the pocket.

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Question time

Guess which company's software and infrastructure they use? Little clue: that company recently lost a lot of personal info of Sidekick users in US.

MS is trying to get into intertubes, but their infrastructure is badly inadequate. I tried to use Bing Maps (Virtual Earth and whatever past names it had). It is terribly slow to load. Couldn't they go with Google as Met did? At least it works as Google has enough bandwidth and processing power to cope with it.

Pork barrel, golf courses and stuff...

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Bah!

They built it using MySQL? Why is anyone surprised that it doesn't work as advertised?

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FAIL

New?

This site's been available for about 2 years.

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Unhappy

Why are these things

always just England and Wales? Surely the Scots and Irish are required to keep the same statistics on record?

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Bronze badge

It's publicity that's the problem

They always make the mistake of launching these sites with a fanfare of publicity which means the site will get more hits in it's first day than it will in a normal year. So the techies have probably sized everthing quite sensibly for normal traffic, but then the press office make sure the site will get hammered on day one.

Anyway don't LA's publish this stuff anyway? So shouldn't this just be a simple aggregator? www.comparethecrimefigures.com? Simples.

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@Stevie

Funny, I was just thinking that too. Probably ran great in testing, but sure doesn't scale well.

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@jackharrer

Actually based on the errors the are not using MS they are using mySQL. This is what is causing the issue. Bad planning. They may well be using ms maps on the site but I'm more than certian that ms have more than enough spare bandwidth and processing power to cope.

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Anonymous Coward

@Grease Monkey

You go by PEAK traffic estimates, not AVERAGE traffic estimates... simples.

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Anonymous Coward

Unreasonable failure?

Whilst I'm a firm hater of the government and it's pathetic approach to IT, in this instance, I'm going to put my fairness hat on and say, it's a reasonable failure.

And to any seasoned IT professional, what I'm about to say is common sense.

When a new website containing information of national interest to the country, and the same happened to the flood maps site a few years ago, I would imagine hundreds of thousands of users or greater, try to access the site simulataneously. Such peak load immediately after the national publicity such a site receives on the national news and wherever else, this load is going to be exceptionally high and not representative of the load during 'normal' use.

So, to support that extremely high demand, the providers will have to enough comms bandwidth, enough database server bandwidth to support it, and it's not good business sense - to have all the extra hardware and software licenses, and development costs just to cope with the peak demand when the website is announced to the public en masse.

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@AC - 21:11

"You go by PEAK traffic estimates, not AVERAGE traffic estimates... simples."

So lets say this site gets 50 times as much traffic day one as it would any other day*. Would you be happy for your tax pennies to be spent over speccing the system by that amount? Of course you wouldn't. In fact you'd probably complain if there was a story about some new government website having the hardware over specced to cope with day one demand.

* Believe me, having worked on stuff like this that's a conservative estimate, people read about it, think "that sounds interesting", click the link and then never visit it again. Worse still it's amazing how much traffic to these sites is internal. Every member of staff gets the press release by email and hits the link to see what it's all about. "Ooooh, let's look up my postcode." Pissflaps!

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Anonymous Coward

@Stevie, Lennart

Hmmm. Seems like there's a bunch of enterprise systems out there that use mysql quite happily.

Perhaps y'all are just lousy DBAs.

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Who's a crap developer then?

"... showing a part of a map, accompanied by a series of "cannot connect to mysql" warning messages ..."

A message like this should NEVER appear at the user's browser. It indicates a complete lack of understanding of the need to segregate backend processes from the public interface. Sadly, it's an almost universal error, but I think we have a right to expect a much higher standard from the developers of a police system.

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There are lies, damed lies and Police statistics

I was rather surprised to find that where I lived was average for all types of crime so I checked how they define "average". There are 5 groups an area can be in ranging from high-crime to low-crime. The "average" band contains 68% of different areas while the high crime band contains only the top 2% of areas.

Really I should have known better and not wasted my time entering the URL for the web site.

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