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Dubai Police introduce automatic vehicle locator

Dubai Police have introduced a new electronic mapping system to pinpoint the locations of their patrol cars, so as to ensure faster response to emergency calls.

The system, called the Dubai Police Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL), was unveiled by Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief, during a press conference held at the Police Headquarters.

Maj. Gen. Dhahi called upon the Civil Defence to use the facilities of the Dubai Police operations room. “Their personnel could use the operations room and we will provide space for them. Instead of having two operations rooms in one emirate, why can’t we just have one and share it?” he asked.

According to Maj. Gen. Dhahi, the new system was fully made by Dubai Police personnel and the copyright is owned by the organisation. One of the benefits of the system is that it is easier to operate and users do not need a lot of training as it works on the Windows system.

Maj. Gen. Dhahi said: “The system helps them cut down on expense, as they are using their own resources and it is also considered a source of income as the police could sell it.”

The team that put the system together is headed by Lieutenant Colonel Kamil Butii. The Technical Coordinator is Bob Smith. The programmers are Waleed Al Bakr, Khalid Al Shaeer, and Mohammed Hanef. The communications team comprises Major Khalifa Al Ali, Lieutenant Amar Al Jalejel, Hassan Abrar and Ebrahim Al Ali.

The system is made up of three components: the patrolling vehicles, which have a wireless radio and an electronic system with a Geographic Positioning System (GPS) receiver; the police communication system (wireless); and a computer network system, which is based in the operations room of Dubai Police.

All these systems integrated together form AVL. The system works like this: the police patrol car on any location sends its latitude and longitude, vehicle ID and any information to the operations room via the wireless system; the location of the vehicle is known via the GPS system, which receives the latitude and longitude signals from satellites; the satellite then sends it to the operations room via the police communication system.

This information is scrambled or coded, which the police decode and analyse, then extract the information they need to pinpoint the location of the vehicle on the map or the data that has been sent by the car.

The police send messages from their computer system in the operations room and these go on air via the wireless network to the patrol cars. These messages are also coded and only the device in the patrol car can understand it and decode it. The AVL gives them the option of sending the messages to either one vehicle only or many depending on their need.

The technical benefits of the AVL are many and one of the most important is that it is very simple and anybody can use it. Another plus point is that the maps used are Geographic Information System (GIS) enabled.

This means that the maps are not just pictures but images with data and are very accurate. The AVL has unlimited capacity and can record vast amounts of data, which is a big improvement over the old system which could only record the data of one week.

Also, the system saves in the Oracle database, which is considered the number one database system in the world.

Another advantage is that it can work on a multi-user environment, which is a boon over the old system, which could only accommodate a single user on a machine. The system can also be accessed anywhere in the world via a dial-up system, even by a mobile phone.