Home Geospatial Applications Miscellaneous Researchers track meth labs using Google Maps

Researchers track meth labs using Google Maps

Kansas, US: Using geospatial predictive analytics technique, Max Lu, a professor at Kansas State University, developed a novel method of finding methamphetamine labs even before they open.

Researchers Max Lu and Jessica Burnum described how methamphetamine labs in the city of Colorado Springs between 2002 and 2005 didn’t pop up in a random distribution. Rather, their positions are clustered “in neighbourhoods with a young and predominantly white population, small household size, and low education levels.”

The researchers examined data collected from 2002 to 2005 on seized meth lab equipment and where rogue chemists dumped the toxic by-products of methamphetamine manufacture. Using the data, the pair was able to successfully prove meth manufacture was creeping slowly through more and more middle-class neighbourhoods in Colorado Springs. Map data analysed over time successfully demonstrated the spread of meth labs throughout a metropolitan area–and even predicted where they would pop up next.

Police departments across the globe are also integrating geospatial predictive analysis into crimefighting. Participating police departments such as Lowell, Massachussetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, are using similar methods to Lu’s to find blocks likely to host discreet drug dealers or where car break-ins will take place.

Source: Fastcompany