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  • Location is becoming a key part of each new IT system and this solution provides a range of map, gazetteer and data services that new projects can use without the need to purchase new software.

    Andrew Mahon, Senior Geographic Information Analyst, Metropolitan Police

To ensure safety and security during the 2012 London Olympics Games, the Metropolitan Police service needed a single, definitive and easy-to-use way to securely view and share mapping, and associated data. During the Games, this new mapping portal was used by more than 2,000 users within the Metropolitan Police. In addition, more than 46 external agencies also had access to the system.

The challenge

Prior to the Olympics, the Metropolitan Police used a range of geographical information systems (GIS), to supply users, many of whom only had access to desktop GIS software, with different types of mapping and data. Information was kept in silos and the various systems did not link to one another. To enable a common operational picture for both police and external users, a system built upon a single, definitive source of all Olympic data, including mapping, was needed.

The solution

Developed by Astrium (formerly Infoterra), the Olympic Mapping Portal used Ordnance Survey’s complete range of mapping data, including aerial photography, and bespoke datasets created especially for the Games. These include an audit of all street furniture around Olympic sites and the Olympic route network which was linked to OS MasterMap® Integrated Transport Network™ (ITN) Layer.

Used as part of the routing engine, the ITN Layer allows users to define service areas by providing information such as how far they would be able to travel in 10 minutes and the shortest path between two locations. During the period of the Games, the Metropolitan Police service also purchased Ordnance Survey’s national Points of Interest database which was used to map the location of all sponsors and partners that may have been targeted by protestors. Key datasets, such as CCTV cameras, are linked to the National Address Gazetteer, which uses AddressBase® and the National Land and Property Gazetteer available through Ordnance Survey’s joint partnership with the Local Government Association – Geoplace.

The Olympic mapping portal, therefore, contains a large data catalogue of more than 300 layers of information which users can upload and download in common GIS formats.

It provides a GIS legacy for the Metropolitan Police service and is the first corporate GIS application to be available to all police forces via the Police National Network (PNN). Its integral toolset has proved invaluable in coordinating resources and planning events, enabling users across the country to view the same map and information in real-time as well as to communicate directly using an ‘instant messaging’ application. By creating a symbology catalogue, users now have access to a common set of icons and pictures for geographic features (previously maps had been created using differing symbols for the same location).

Any information added can be viewed by others and individual users can save their own local layers and annotations. Height, length and angles can be measured directly from oblique imagery and 3D viewing is possible through Internet Explorer.

The benefits

  • Provides a single spatial data infrastructure and common platform for securely viewing and sharing all Metropolitan Police service geographic data in real-time.
  • Stops the distribution of multiple copies of data and the holding of local copies of Ordnance Survey mapping.
  • Reduces the need for maintaining Ordnance Survey data which is now processed and distributed centrally.
  • Enables the easy sharing of bookmarks and data without the need to send GIS files.
  • Enables bespoke views of data for event management, for example, the Torch Relay.
  • Requires minimal training for users which is delivered via an online training package available to all police forces.
  • Led to the adoption and implementation of standards including a common set of map symbols and a metadata standard that ensures all new data loaded into the portal is INSPIRE and UK Gemini compliant.
  • Accessible to all police forces via the PNN without the need for each to undertake its own system development.

The products used

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