Location intelligence: The next trend in mapping technology

     As the challenges facing public safety communications and emergency response professionals continue to grow, location intelligence technology empowers public safety professionals with the data and tools to make more informed decisions...


     The Piscataway Township (New Jersey) Police Department implemented a dispatch system designed by Malden, Massachusetts-based Queues Enforth Development Inc. The system allows the police to respond more quickly to calls. Prior to the dispatch system, if a domestic problem got called into the Piscataway PD's dispatch center, only the address of the location would be dispatched. In these cases, the officer would have to determine where the building is located and the best way to get there. The extra time in mapping out a route may increase the critical time it takes to arrive at the location.

     With the new dispatch system, the officer doesn't have to refer to maps or second guess directions. Once the center receives the call, the dispatcher punches in the address data and a map of the location pops up on the screen. With many businesses, apartment and condo complexes, and new construction in the 21-square-mile township, the system enables the dispatcher to guide the officer to the front door of the location. For example, the dispatcher may say, "You are going to Eighth St. between Seventh and Ninth St. It will be the fourth house on the left."

     The system also integrates with other critical tools used for dispatch. For example, the system indicates all live instances going on at any given time within the jurisdiction. Although systems are individualized for each jurisdiction, typically, each dispatch category is color shaded by priority. An assault in progress would be coded red, while a request for serving papers may be colored green because it is not of a high priority. In all, the system enables dispatchers to provide officers with the most up-to-date information and directions to the address.

Quicker fire response
     The Town of Wethersfield, Connecticut's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is using location intelligence to place maps in both fire and police vehicles for quicker response to events. The EOC creates maps showcasing where commercial businesses, private homes, water lines and power lines are located. These maps link to data, such as number of tenants, routes to the street and dimensions.

     Emergency responders can easily search, zoom in and out, share, and manipulate this information. In the event of an emergency, EOC administrators can view the layout of the disaster scene to determine what roads lead to it, the area's population density, and which homes and businesses need to be evacuated.

     While in transit to an emergency, fire personnel can see the fastest route and locate the closest fire hydrant before getting to the site. This helps them make better decisions when life and property are at risk. Using location intelligence, Wethersfield can address "what if" questions on the fly for planning purposes or access the most up-to-date information about town residents, businesses and geography during an emergency.

Predictive crime analysis anticipates criminal moves
     When trying to identify a suspect's next step, it may be difficult to discern if there are any trends or patterns by just viewing a spreadsheet of the data collected from crime reports. However, by converting the data into readable maps, more people who are part of the investigation can leverage and easily access the information across multiple platforms. Through a map, the agency can see crime analysis metrics in an intuitive, graphical fashion. This view offers a visual of patterns and relationships that can help focus the investigation.

     Using only a partial license number, description of the vehicle and composite picture of the suspect, the Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Police Service had little luck identifying and locating a sex offender who had been targeting young children at area schools for more than a year. The investigative teams needed to use additional information to help escalate the search.

     By using location intelligence solutions in the agency's GIS and Geographic Profiling Analysis application, Det. Constable Manny San Pedro was able to formulate crime pattern graphs to visually show the individual's anchor points, as well as predictive analysis identifying where and when the offender may strike again. After adding the locations of schools in the area, selecting a five-minute walking buffer for children walking to and from school, and layering in the days and times the suspicious van had been spotted, the location intelligence map narrowed the probability of where the individual may appear again.

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