Information Builders Maps the
Data"> Information Builders used components of its Web-based flagship product WebFocus, a BI tool, which it tied to mapping software from ESRI to create an easy-to-understand, intuitive visual presentation of the law enforcement application. This was the vendors first time developing this capability for a law enforcement application.The maps provide a photo of the city from space. Users have the ability to zoom in on a neighborhood, block or street and see houses, cars and the location of a field. More precise zooming allows users to see doors, windows or the configuration of a yard. Information Builders also created symbols, such as a gun and a needle, and a legend for the maps. The software also has the ability to display hot zones and the probability of criminal activity occurring in a particular area based on color coding, such as green for low probability, yellow for medium probability and red for high probability. "We explored particular needs and critical functionality for the police department," said Ivan Blas, director of business development for channels at Information Builders. In the past, crime analysis tools churned out long hard-copy reports on a daily basis that were statistical in nature and difficult and tedious to read through, according to McCue. "The new application is portable, and the data and information is easy to see, analyze, modify and move around," Blas said. Portability is key to the applications successful deployment, according to Monroe. Richmond, with a population of approximately 210,000, has 750 police officers in four precincts. Within each precinct are 12 sectors, each assigned 18 to 30 officers who are responsible for crime, calls and problems within their sector. This winter, the law enforcement application is slated to be rolled out at the RPD and training provided to all officers. "I thought the biggest challenge would be getting the police officers to accept the data mining capabilities and crime forecasting capabilities of the application," Haffey said. "But Colleen McCue, while on staff at the RPD, convinced them it was a worthy product." Not only is the RPD excited about the new application, but Monroe said he wants the police officers to be more analytical. "When the officers get in their cars and start up their engines, they need to know where to go to reduce crime," he said, "rather than being reactive to crime." Lynn Haber is a freelance writer based in Norwell, Mass. She can be reached at email@example.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
Information Builders and ESRI met with the RPD for a requirements analysis to determine the type of interface most appropriate for the data, such as a table or a map or a combination of the two. The map views are also critical to the application.