Digital mapping is a central part of public safety, especially within the police force. However, GIS can also be used by fire departments and other agencies in response to national disasters. By allowing public safety departments to attach data to maps, they can significantly enhance their services. For example, tracking incidents and analyzing them through GIS allows the police to understand where to place officers. As well as mapping incidents, there are many other uses of GIS in public safety, Below, we will tell you exactly what GIS is and how it is helping public safety.
What is GIS?
GIS stands for a geographical information system, which is a technology capable of storing, capturing, and checking information relating to the earth’s surface. One of the most obvious everyday examples of GIS can be seen in Google Maps. When you click on the Google Map settings, you can view terrain information, satellite details, as well as traffic maps and wildfires. Although this isn’t the most complex GIS system, it can give you a basic understanding.
When you apply this to policing and public safety, think about an ambulance needing to navigate the city. Thanks to GIS, they can view in-depth information surrounding a certain area ahead of time. If they’re called to areas rife with crime, they can call for police support to ensure their safety. Without GIS, public safety responders would be going in blind. If you’re interested in exploring GIS and public safety, you should complete a GIS diploma at Wilfred Laurier University. After which, you will have opened the door to a fruitful career in public safety.
Thanks to GIS, law enforcement agencies can collect data surrounding the types of crime and the frequencies of those crimes in a particular area. Then, police forces can use this information to understand where to target efforts. For example, if the police need to investigate drug sales in an area, they can use GIS to see where there have been high instances of drug-related crimes. Then, they can use that area as a starting point for investigations.
When you call 911, GIS is used to accurately map locations and support dispatch crews. 911 computers can locate the end-user, place them on a map, and access detailed information about the area. For example, the dispatch center can map out the fastest routes to a destination by taking into account traffic analysis, roadworks, and other metrics. Further, they can use detailed street-view maps to analyze entry points into buildings. This is especially helpful for fire departments and ambulance crews.
The combination of forensics and geography is used to track crimes and build up a picture of what may have happened. For example, detectives can analyze past crime patterns to predict what may have occurred. Further, thanks to GPS-enabled cars, they can see exactly where they have been and build up location-based evidence. Thanks to GIS and powerful software, scenarios can be generated to help investigators. This isn’t only helpful to law enforcement, but it can be used to predict the devastation of natural disasters ahead of time.
GIS tech can be used to gather traffic data that can be used for road improvements. For example, if accidents keep occurring on the same stretch of highway, agencies can look at ways to improve the area for the benefit of public safety. Further, traffic analysis, thanks to GIS, can be used to see where new roads need to be built to ease congestion.
GIS technology is capable of providing highly detailed data on what’s above and under the ground, which can play a huge role in the search for missing bodies. In particular, law enforcement agencies can use LiDAR technology to find inconsistencies in terrain. Unfortunately, this can help officers quickly uncover burial sites.
No matter what country you live in, there will always be drug-related crimes. Luckily, thanks to GIS, law enforcement agencies can map out drug incidents and analyze data. For example, they can find out what types of drugs are more popular in a certain area. Through GIS usage, links can be made between open-air drug areas and other communities. Then, investigators can use the information to track large drug operations.
Ankle monitors are used to track certain individuals on parole or under house arrest. However, a GPS bracelet is a little useless if you don’t know where they go. Luckily, thanks to GIS, monitoring is much easier because it can provide detailed information on places that they visit frequently. Monitoring bodies can pair this with other data and prevent reoffending. For example, if a known drug offender keeps visiting areas of a high drug crime, the chances are they are relapsing. Then, officers can locate them to see what they’re up to.
Public safety agencies can use detailed GIS data to assess the likelihood of landslides and earthquakes. This can help with pre-emptive evacuation and the avoidance of building communities in problem areas. To do this, the software analyzes the slope, curve, and proximity to the earthquake.
When the military plans deployment missions into combat zones, GIS is extremely helpful. In an instant, officers can access speedy reconnaissance. With the information of the terrain, the weather conditions, and the presence of civilians, there is no need to go in blind. Thanks to the tech, covert operations can be carried out with little to no civilian casualties.
Geographical information systems allow public safety agencies to gain deep analytical information about a particular area. In law enforcement, it lets officers know where the problem areas are. Further, it lets dispatch centers provide accurate location information. When it comes to traffic management, it lets developers make improvements to help ease congestion and reduce traffic collisions. As well as public safety, GIS helps monitor the environment, consumer trends, and agriculture. If you have an understanding of GIS, you can pave a career path into any industry.