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GIS aiding public safety in Indian city

The Northeastern city of Guwahati has deployed digital mapping system to improve its response time for an incident

Guwahati, the capital of Assam in Northeastern India, has experienced unprecedented spatial expansion and a steep rise in population. This expansion placed additional pressure on the city’s police department. Also, recent insurgency has heightened the need for improving methods of dispatching law enforcement personnel. With this goal in mind, the Guwahati Police Department partnered with InterAct Public Safety Systems to develop a computer-aided dispatch, automatic vehicle locator and GIS solutions increase the efficiency of the call centre, officers response time and enhance public safety.

Improving response time
A new state-of-the art Voice Over IP (VoIP) phone system was installed at the Guwahati Police Department’s dispatch centre, tripling its call capacity. The department also deployed an intuitive computer-aided dispatch (CAD) application that vastly improves officer safety. Officers with very little up-front training were able to use the user-friendly system. They were able to execute actions using a variety of methods – graphical, hot key, command line, or drag- and-drop.

As soon as a call comes in, the dispatcher automatically sees the caller’s phone number and window for recording the incident pops up. Once the caller’s location is entered, it is immediately pinpointed on a detailed map display. The dispatch centre also has a giant display, identifying all current incidents and units in the field. In this way, dispatchers can locate the closest officers to the scene and execute a faster response. Once the responding officers are identified, the dispatcher can easily direct them to the scene of the incident via the fastest route possible. The system displays landmarks, aerial and satellite imagery, structural photos and other geo-based items necessary to dispatch a successful response.

In addition, dispatchers have access to all previous incidents reported from a particular phone number. This is particularly important for alerting officers to potentially dangerous situations they may encounter upon arrival, helping to better prepare them for any circumstance. For example, if there have been recently reported incidents of violent persons in the household, the officer being dispatched to will have this information up front to prepare accordingly.

All calls are automatically recorded and tagged for easy retrieval. Officers can also store full reports and maintain archives of each incident. Having a full understanding of how a situation unfolded is beneficial for the police department, helping to identify ways to improve the response process and resulting public safety.

Preparing Guwahati for the future
The technology is also preparing Guwahati to take advantage of emerging communication infrastructure. For example, the dispatch centre is now poised to enable locationbased identification tied to the caller’s phone number. This way the dispatcher will automatically know where the caller is located — a particularly helpful piece of data for emergency situations.