GPS-Photo Link Software Provides Situational Awareness to Police Before Major Events

Thornton, Colo., USA, 3 August 2006 – TATE Inc. is using GPS-Photo Link software from GeoSpatial Experts to enhance the situational awareness of police and security personnel assigned to provide protection at public events. As a provider of training and support to organizations with personnel operating in high-risk environments, TATE has deployed the GPS-Photo Link solution in preparation for major gatherings in Washington, D.C., including President Reagan’s funeral in 2004.

“Law enforcement personnel can view the GPS-located photos in the mapping environment on a computer screen to gain situational awareness in an area they have not visited,” said Ron Dinger of TATE Inc., based in Alexandria, Va. “By clicking on photos of an event venue or motorcade route, the officers are able to assess threats on the computer and determine which need to be examined in person.”

GPS-Photo Link is a digital image mapping software that automatically links digital photographic images to GPS location data in the GIS environment. GPS-Photo Link creates web pages in which the watermarked photographs are integrated with satellite imagery, street maps, or other GIS-based mapping layer. New functionality added in the most recent software version enables users to display their photo locations as icons in a Google Earth map layer and add an arrow indicating the direction in which the photo was taken.

In preparation for the Reagan funeral, TATE personnel used GPS-linked digital cameras to photograph every intersection and building on the motorcade route. Intersections were photographed in 360 degrees, and line-of-sight photos were taken from the tops of nearby buildings. TATE integrated these location-stamped photos into a GIS-based map display of Washington, D.C., using the GPS-Photo Link software and created a PowerPoint presentation with hyperlinks to the photos.

Prior to the Reagan funeral, the PowerPoint presentations were given to members of the U.S. Park Police, Capitol Police and other security forces. They used the map and digital photos to evaluate infrastructure vulnerability and determine the safest route for the motorcade. To view the photo of a specific intersection or site, they simply clicked on a map icon.

“By photo-mapping the route in advance, we provided the officers with a valuable mission-rehearsal tool,” said Dinger. “It helped them get a feel for what they would face.”

Dinger added that he is now recommending that his clients use photo-mapping technology to visually archive the vehicle and foot-traffic routes in the vicinity of their buildings and facilities around the world. Having this information readily available if a disaster should strike can prove invaluable in determining the safest route to enter or exit the site.

“Following the Reagan funeral, other police agencies have purchased GPS-Photo Link for situational awareness exercises identical to those presented by TATE,” said Rick Bobbitt, President of GeoSpatial Experts. “They are drawn to the GPS-Photo Link software because it is so easy to use and incorporate into their existing digital mapping applications.”