Geospatial Technology Training Resources
Law enforcement, first responders, fire services, and emergency management personnel share a key need in that all of these disciplines rely on location. They all respond to incidents. Some incidents occur at a single location, while others occur over an area. The people they serve are all tracked through coordinates, addresses, and districts. GPS locators in patrol vehicles provide real time location of organizational assets. Because of the importance of location, geospatial technology is a perfect fit for law and public safety issues.
Geospatial technology provides the power to not only map these incidents and districts, but also the power to perform analysis to make sure agencies respond quickly and efficiently. Many of these agencies are using geospatial technology daily to map these incidents and comparing them with years of data to see how they can improve on their successes.
Implementation of geospatial technologies into your program for students is most successful when your students can prove they have what it takes. A national industry-backed certification can verify that your students have the skillset and project management background to go out and make an immediate impact on the workforce. Digital Quest administers and develops geospatial certification programs with industry backing that recognize user skills in the S.P.A.C.E. certification and the S.T.A.R.S. Geospatial Technician Level Certification. Each can be used together or separately and be focused on a specific discipline in GIS in Law Enforcement or GIS in Public Administration.
A turn-key curriculum leads students to the certification while focusing on applications in law enforcement, public safety, and homeland security (Approximately 180 hrs of instruction to prepare for S.P.A.C.E. and 360 hrs. of instructions for S.T.A.R.S.). A key factor in effectively using this curriculum is the delivery of lesson plans, presentation notes, assessments, and local data; so that teachers can quickly become familiar with the technology and successfully pass that knowledge on to students.
There are a variety of entry points, but each configuration is based on real world scenarios that show students step by step how to manipulate the software to their advantage. Furthermore, students will get hands on cross-curricular experience in project management that teach them how to assess threats, measure success, operate within departmental regulations, plan studies, and report them to their agencies and the public. These elements of the curriculum make your students desirable team members for their analytical abilities as well as their technical abilities. Law enforcement and public safety organizations are moving into intelligence-led policing and emergency management. These organizations are looking for officers and administrators familiar with the technology.
How Does the Technology Work?
Simply put, geospatial technology is using computers to create digital maps. These maps can be created to display most any application on the earth - from calls for service to frequency of accidents at an intersection to displaying the quickest route to an incident. Unlike traditional paper maps, though, geospatial technology can be used to create real time maps that can be produced, distributed, and easily updated with just a few mouse clicks! Once the data is mapped it is available for comparison and analysis to see how you perform over time.
Geospatial Technology in Law Enforcement
Calls for Service (CFS) are a key piece of data for law enforcement. The use of geospatial technology empowers law enforcement to view and analyze pertinent information critical to the safety and well being of a community or region to affect real change. Law enforcement can use geospatial technology to analyze everyday CFS or to respond to specific incidents and to conduct long term studies that compare activities over longer periods of time.
Law Enforcement agencies benefit from a variety of data: political and administrative boundaries, natural and manmade landscape features, population demographics, policing features, and calls for service locations. Geospatial technology enables the visualization and study of these geospatial factors through the use of maps and spatial analysis techniques. By geographically coding locations of Calls for Service, each incident can be visualized on a map to show it's location within a community. This enhanced technology enables law enforcers to move into the age of Intelligence Led Policing by providing a platform where they are able to efficiently utilize maps and spatial analysis techniques to be able to see the "big picture". For example, each incident can be plotted on a map to show it's location within the community. This is similar to the pin-maps seen in many precincts. The difference however is that once the CFS data has been input into a Geographic Information System, users can add more data to each point as well as additional data layers. Each point can display crime type, crime description, action taken, response time, dispatch time, and any information that the department chooses. Departments can map, for instance, their response times and visualize problem areas and correct those problems. This type of analysis extends to criminal behavior as well. Mapping known crimes by their type, time of occurrence, day, or suspects can paint a clear picture of the criminal environment. If needed, additional information about the community can be added to the map to give even more insight into a situation to compare business types or population variables.
Whether it is based on area or a specific location, this technology can also allow for proactive allocation and deployment of personnel to ensure the greatest possible protection.
Geospatial Technology in Emergency Management, Public Safety, and Homeland Security
The creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 has radically changed how agencies respond to large scale security events and natural disasters to provide for the public good. Presidential Policy Directive 8 is calling for all involved agencies to meet a National Preparedness goal supported by a National Preparedness system. Geospatial Technology will be a key tool in meeting this preparedness as managing assets and threats across a wide geography are essential. Your local, state, and federal agencies will be mapping and analyzing populations, schools, buildings, evacuation routes, flood plains, borders, and customs inspection station, etc. All of these features can be recorded and mapped to display their location in a community, as well as their relative location with respect to other features.
First responders and recovery personnel alike will need to know exactly where resources and threats are located. Geospatial technology can be used to identify the area around a danger zone in the event of an emergency or to create routes for the safe departure of a community's residents away from an emergency area.
Students will learn about how geospatial technology can be applied to the five phases of Homeland Security Strategic Planning including: Risk Assessment, Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
- Risk Assessment and Planning
The most fundamental phase of Homeland Security planning involves assessing which
community resources are the most vulnerable to terrorist attack, and, therefore, require the greatest protection. A basic determining factor is which resources a community will depend on the most within a 72-hour period after an emergency occurs. Geospatial Technology allows analysts to find exactly which areas and populations are at risk and see how they relate geographically to each other.
Visual status maps can be created to promote awareness of the existing condition of these resources during normal working conditions. These maps can also be used to determine ways to circumvent possible attack and damage to critical resources before they occur. Examples of visual status maps would show the population data for an area, or it may show key landmarks or possibly key transportation resources. In the event of an Elevated Terror Alert, maps can be created to identify access routes to high risk locations, to assess the locations of surveillance personnel along routes, and to determine where the high-risk areas are to restrict these areas to essential personnel only.
Preparedness includes activities that prepare for the evacuation a community's residents away from a danger zone in the event of an emergency. Maps created well in advance of such an event will show the most efficient manner for the evacuations however the plans may have to be updated using real time data. Geospatial technology allows for easy manipulation of this data as it is needed.
Once the high risk areas have been identified, the First Responders will need to be rallied. These first-responders must be located and effectively positioned in damaged or high-risk areas to ensure public safety at the time of an emergency. Communicating this information to first-responders is the most critical component of the Response phase. GIS provides a vehicle through which this information is dispatched, displayed, and deployed.
Recovery is the phase of Homeland Security Planning that focuses on attaining stability and returning critical systems and resources to normal conditions after an emergency occurs. Efforts involve ensuring stability of residents in a community most in need of critical life sustaining resources within the first 72 hours after an emergency is of utmost importance. During this time geospatial technology can be used to create maps that would show the best location for sites for mobile food, water, and medical response resources based on the location of the emergency. Over the long term, geospatial technology can store and illustrate how the landscape was before an event and manage returning to a pre-event status.
Geospatial Technology for Fire and Emergency Services
Fire Services can benefit from similar analysis as Law Enforcement as their day to day and long term operations rely on location and calls for service. Fire Services can also benefit from environmental studies as seen with managing forest fires and monitoring potentially hazardous or at risk areas. From calls for service locations to resources to drought conditions, fire services stay ahead of potential accidents and incidents through the use of geospatial technology.
For more information, visit the Digital Quest website at www.digitalquest.com to see expanded discussions of certification or see titles and lesson samples.
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