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blue 8 launches interactive web-based GIS applications

blue 8, the UK’s supplier of location technology to public services, has launched blue 8 xi, an Internet-based data publication and collection tool that delivers professional map manipulation and interrogation capabilities to users via standard web browsers. blue 8 xi is the first of a new generation of fully interactive web-based applications that enables information from centrally managed corporate data stores to be disseminated to an extended stakeholder group on a 24/7 basis and will be of particular interest to police forces.

blue 8 xi gives greater access to crime data and will be a key component in disseminating information across the operational tree to enable faster and more effective decision-making. It allows enhanced crime portals to be developed giving officers detailed background information on criminal activity and enables hotspot analyses to be carried out geographically for burglaries, car crime, vandalism and other incidents.

It also opens up many opportunities to extend the interaction and involvement with parties outside normal organizational boundaries including Crime and Disorder Partnerships as well as the public. blue 8 xi enables information such as local crime statistics that are collected as part of normal police operations to be disseminated to the community and will play a key role in raising public opinion about police effectiveness.

blue 8 xi also allows information such as crime reports and neighbourhood watch updates to be collected via the Internet. The validity of all data is checked against other sources to exclude bogus postings. A regular analysis can be carried out on the data and posted onto the site to keep partners informed and improve action planning.

It provides users with high levels of functionality that were previously restricted to back office operations. Users can select real-time information directly from centrally managed data stores to be displayed as overlays on the map. The availability of such information can be determined through user profiles to maintain security. Operations will benefit from giving authorised users direct access to the central data store as this removes the burden on internal resources to provide the information requested. In addition, because a larger number of users are now able to input data, the speed and efficiency of entering or updating data are improved.

blue 8 xi can be easily integrated into existing websites and is compatible with all commonly used search engines to enable users to easily find information held in the corporate location data hub with real-time links to corporate data stores. Results can be exported in standard formats for easy report creation or data presentation. A developer toolkit is delivered as part of blue 8 xi and provides a series of ‘plug-ins’ that enable complete applications to be built using standard controls for map handling, location searching and the creation and display of overlays. The toolkit also includes application interfaces to allow easy integration with third party applications.

It integrates with blue 8 compass, which provides information about spaces, places and faces using historical data from its own data store as well as from external Access, SQL Server and Oracle databases. This provides a complete location-based solution that gives users the planning tools to optimise the use of resources to improve response.