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Crime fighting with smart mapping technology: Esri CEO interview

AvantiKumar | April 15, 2015
Esri Malaysia CEO Lai Chee Siew said leading law enforcement agencies such as the Boston Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, US Homeland Security as well as the Royal Malaysian Police are already using smart mapping.

While many people are familiar with satellite navigation technology and other popular mapping applications, applying the technology to manage geospatial data requires specialised skills, essential to ensure its management, quality and sustainability.

  • Increase in public expectation - Since the public has now been exposed to various location-based applications and platforms this has led the community to be quite savvy about the potential of using map-based solutions. In addition, the rise of social media has also brought a strong demand to make real-time information available to people on their smart devices 24/7.

In this context, it's more than just making maps available online - it's about providing citizens with the geospatial information that can empower them to make better decisions with regards to their day-to-day activities.

How are you measuring the impact of this technology in public safety and security projects?
Using GIS helps to improve the quality of decisions. From our experience, we measure the success of our project implementations by looking at the following outcomes:

- Faster response time during incidents
- Better coordination between field officers and the control centre
- Increased capability to make decisions on-the-fly
- Improved access to real-time information
- More efficient allocation of resources
- Increased efficiency and productivity across the organization
- Reduction in the crime index - as demonstrated by the SCMS (Safe City Monitoring System)

Do you have recent examples that show the value delivered by your smart mapping technology?
Beyond the ability to simply plot points on a map, smart mapping technology features sophisticated spatial analytics capabilities that enable decision-makers to look at their data from an entirely new perspective - providing a richer context than static reports and spreadsheets can deliver.

The technology also allows organisations to seamlessly integrate data from multiple sources to create a dynamic map-based view of information that is easily accessible by anyone in the entire organisation.

Furthermore, it also allows organisations to make sense of their big data. No matter the size and complexity, GIS technology has enabled organisations all over the world to leverage the organisation's most valuable resource - their data - by pulling it together and helping users gain better awareness and clarity of their environment, organisations, and customers.

Traditionally, GIS technology has been widely used in a military context for decades, often regarded as a highly specialised intelligence tradecraft, which was used by trained professionals to make maps and visualise terrains.

Now, the technology has become more ubiquitous across national security and public safety organisations by providing users - even those with a non-technical background - with the ability to easily access, analyse, share and contribute geospatial information in real-time, on any type of device.

The Malaysian Airlines MH17 tragedy, for example, shows just how complex the national security mission can be. In this instance, GIS technology provided authorities with not only complex analytical and mission planning support across many nations, but was also used as an important tool for public engagement.

Smart maps of information regarding the disaster and its aftermath were shared with members of the community via media websites - helping people to quickly and clearly grasp the situation at hand.

Furthermore, GIS technology is also a mission-critical tool many international agencies and first responders rely on during times of natural calamities to coordinate disaster response and recovery phases.

By using GIS to create a consolidated, map-based view of the disaster, national and international agencies are able to have greater situational clarity and awareness enabling them to efficiently mobilise their relief efforts.


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