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UK Police Force Leverages Location Intelligence from Precisely to Keep World Leaders Safe at Global Summit

Devon and Cornwall Police reveal ground-breaking use of geographic information system (GIS) technology for security planning, with MapInfo Pro playing an important role to unlock maximum context from geospatial data

Precisely, the global leader in data integrity, announced that Devon and Cornwall Police leveraged its GIS software to enhance safety measures during the 2021 G7 Summit – the annual gathering of policy leaders from seven of the world’s major democracies. The local police force combined MapInfo Pro with third-party 3D visualizations to create a digital twin that enabled precise contingency planning – based on a model that had an accuracy of up to five millimeters.

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“These insights benefitted a wide range of stakeholders such as our firearms, ops planning, and counter drone teams, and even external partners including the U.S. Secret Service, because they were able to understand the risks and opportunities different locations and routes presented.”

The innovative use of geospatial solutions, alongside cutting-edge 3D technology, has huge implications for security and event planning. Mounting geopolitical tension is increasing the likelihood of security threats, meaning that high profile events, such as Queen Elizabeth II’s recent funeral procession, are requiring unprecedented levels of complex security protocol. The pandemic has also made contingency planning more challenging by limiting the ability to bring together large groups of people to do in-person planning.

“We had two major hurdles we had to cross during the planning phase for the G7 Summit,” said Robert Goldsmith, GIS and Mapping Manager, Devon and Cornwall Police. “The first challenge was managing the sheer volume of security protocols needed for such a high-profile event, particularly given that the Summit was hosted in two locations. This meant that safety measures were required for different venues, as well as for each of the world leaders, as they travelled back and forth. The second was giving visibility to our security partners around the world, especially as the pandemic limited the ability for teams to travel to the site in the run up to the event.”

The force’s GIS team quickly recognized that mapping software could play an important role to easily bring together data from a variety of sources and data formats, providing critical context in the assessment of all safety protocols leading up to and throughout the Summit. As an existing Precisely customer, Devon and Cornwall Police leveraged MapInfo Pro, a powerful desktop mapping solution that unlocks location-based context from data, empowering confident decisions grounded in visualizations of data patterns that would otherwise be hidden.

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Goldsmith and his team used MapInfo Pro to generate 2D gridded map books of the venues and enriched it with points of interest (POI) data, such as foot bridges, cell masts, bus stops, and officer and partner locations. External datasets from other GIS units were also fed into the solution to seamlessly connect different formats for maximum context.

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The 2D mapping created in MapInfo Pro proved to be the ideal foundation for the team to create cutting edge 3D visualizations. Leveraging capabilities provided by third-party providers, the team used aerial drone footage to build out an initial model. This was further augmented with 360-degree visualizations, using video footage that was meticulously captured by scanning over 140,000 square meters of the Summit venues.

The result was a hyper-accurate virtual representation, or digital twin, of the entire area. This enabled Devon and Cornwall Police and their partners, to anticipate security issues and create contingency plans using virtual reality headsets to remotely access locations during the planning phase. This removed the need to have more individuals on the ground than necessary in the run up to the event, while still enabling highly accurate contingency planning to take place.

“The data was accessible by our partners who could view our venues from any phone, tablet, or laptop, anywhere in the country,” said Goldsmith. “These insights benefitted a wide range of stakeholders such as our firearms, ops planning, and counter drone teams, and even external partners including the U.S. Secret Service, because they were able to understand the risks and opportunities different locations and routes presented.”

The G7 Summit went off without security hitch, with the GIS technology widely credited as being central to its success.

“Location intelligence is a crucial element of data integrity, allowing customers to unlock essential context from their data,” said Clarence Hempfield, Senior Vice President – Product Management at Precisely. “Working with Devon and Cornwall police allowed us to see our solutions in action, alongside third-party technology, to help enhance security at an internationally renowned event involving some of the world’s top leaders. We are incredibly proud to fuel organizations across the globe with the trusted data they need to confidently make critical decisions that better serve and protect their citizens.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com] 

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