JEDDAH – Geographical Information System (GIS) is being used to control crowds in the holy city of Makkah and the holy sites.
According to Major Gen. Saad Al Khelaiwi, assistant director for operations and assistant commander for crowd management, geo information systems are in place and television cameras have been installed at all important locations to monitor surging crowds and any possible untoward situation.
About 1,500 cameras have been placed at prime locations, including on the Jamarat Bridge, at the Grand Mosque, in tunnels and all pedestrian roads and hilltops.
“With the help of cameras placed on roads and other places in Makkah and the holy sites, particularly the Jamarat Bridge area, the Control and Command Centre maintains a round-the-clock vigil. The greatest advantage of the system is that the control room gets a clear idea every moment of the number of pilgrims moving toward the Jamarat from different directions. The cameras also spot the places where illegal pilgrims try to erect their makeshift camps,” he explained.
He said that the cameras also help the control room notice the activities of security forces working in a particular area and that helps in sending reinforcement in case of emergency. Departments of police, Red Crescent, Civil Defence, Car Syndicate and utilities are working in concert with the command and control centre.