Friday, January 11, 2008

New view

Yesterday, Jim Anderson over at the City's Information Services Division, made a little change to our public crime mapping application, CrimeView Community. We have a new set of 2007 aerial photos, and Jim replaced the 2005 series with the new ones. Aerial photos show up when you zoom in a click or two.

Contrary to a common belief, these are not satellite photos. Rather, they are photos shot from aircraft overflight, then orthorectified. This is a nice set, with six inch resolution: a single pixel is approximately six inches on the ground. They've also been updated in the City's other web mapping applications, such as the Lancaster County Property Map--which is probably a better place to browse the photo layer, since CrimeView Community limits how close you can zoom. Google Maps and Google Earth (a great application for touring) are actually two versions behind in the aerials--the photos date from 2003, as I recall. Microsoft Virtual Earth uses the 2005 photos.

Aerial photos are a very nice tool for police officers in a variety of situations: special events planning, tactical operations, missing person searches, crime scene and traffic crash investigation, and so forth. With the growth, change, and development that occurs in the City, a new set every couple of years is a very good thing to have. I'll be looking forward to getting the 2007 series in the compressed MrSID format, so we can incorporate those into our mobile mapping application for the field.

In CrimeView Community, the aerial photos show up automatically as you zoom in. In the Lancaster County Property map, you'll need to turn that layer on when it becomes available in the table of contents at the lower right. I'd suggest turning the parcel layer off, too, just to reduce clutter. Aside from the usual interesting places to look at on your tour, such as the State Capital and Memorial Stadium, I like the Pioneer Park bison (both live and bronze), and there are a couple of really cool lawn darts parked with the KC-135s .


Anonymous said...

You should install Sega Rally Revo on that thing, but you might wind up with an Expedition through a building if you played the game while driving.

I use CrimeView Community often, the most recent time to look for previous incidents in the same area as the recent clump of tire-slashings. As I remembered, that apt complex is generally uneventful, as apt complexes go, so this group of slashings really stood out like a sore thumb.

The slashing on s 39th and the two on Briarpark Dr. made me think of a scenario where someone either got kicked out of a party or something like that at the Normal complex, so being physical cowards, they decided to slash tires as revenge instead of direct retaliation. On the way home down 40th, they did the one on 39th and then, being on a punk spree, the two at Briarpark Dr., and they're home because they live right near there in that complex.

I don't know if the times work out, so it's probably a crackpot theory, and this is just some of the strange fun you can have with CrimeView.

Anonymous said...

You should know this. The director of parking/security, at state fair park, yelled a bunch of profanitys at an elderly couple who crossed the street while he was directing traffic, at one point shoving them to the curb area.. Though they seemed aloof of his presence by trying to hurry to the Kansas Nebraska basketball game. I called and talked to this tall, 350 pound black man ( his name is Irvin Williams I got the cell number from the Deveny center. He seems to think his antics are normal. I can tell you this, some nut is gonnah put his crazy arse in his place. I have never seen any one treated in public like this man treated these commuters. His number is 540-0914 In addition I gave the fairgrounds number (474-5371) to this elderly couple. They will call on Monday. Can you put a bug in his ear that this kind of behavior is not gonnah stand. There was a group of kids near by too to hear all his potty mouth also. The next game I will be filming at the location and will have Hard evidence of any verbal and agressive posturing by this bambozoling idiot.

JT said...

Very cool setup and good to see someone FINALLY getting newer photos. A lot changes in 2 years... Is it a private company that did the photos or was it a city-funded project? Just curious who actually paid the plane to fly around and take (what I presume is a LOT of) pictures.

Also on a side note... How do those toughbooks deal with the harsh use officers give them? I ask because we are ready to replace ours at work and have the older 10.4" tablets CF18/19's. (These are the uber-tough military ones, i'm told) Our users are pretty fed up with them due to the small screen, small annoying-to-type-on keyboard, and other issues. However your model is a slightly less-rugged model than ours with more standard laptop looks and features to it, so I am curious if they break a lot on you..

Thanks for humoring me :P

Anonymous said...

I have always been impressed by LPD's use of appears to be a department that understands the great value technology can have in police work. One question though...why do some officers lack MDTs (which seem to be one of the most important technological tools after radios!) in their cruisers?

Tom Casady said...

JT and 4:24-

The Panosonics have proven to be good durable units, and a nice tradeoff between the cost of a ruggedized consumer product and uber-expensive hardened computers. Problems are usually software related, not hardware. Given the size of the fleet, the end-user equipment problems have not unreasonable.

Here's our bigger problem: we haven't been accumulating mileage evenly across the fleet, resulting in some patrol cars what have old Toughbooks that are overdue for replacement. While the rolling stock is patrol is all equipped with MDCs, you wouldn't be exactly thrilled with a five year old desktop--especially if you wanted to run the latest release of your favorite software packages.

The solution, for us, is to reduce the inconsistent mileage accumulation, so the computer and the patrol car both age out of the fleet at about 4-5 years.

In the City's lean budget times, support functions have been cut pretty significantly or just haven't kept up with the need. Not much we can do about that in the current climate, but the bottom dollar is we need more support personnel in many areas--especially records management, crime analysis, and technological resources.

Anonymous said...

I think those lawn darts are the model T-38 variety!

PrairieDog said...

Why do the computers have so many bugs and why can they be slow at times? Is the city looking at upgrading their system or looking for a better delivery system?

Beretta said...


The aerials photos was a joint project between multiple counties in Nebraska and Iowa (I can't remember the exact number..something like 13), including Lancaster, Douglas, Sarpy, and Pottawattamie. They were mostly flown around March 1st of 2007 and the costs were defrayed through multiple agencies. The project was bid out and a private contractor did the work.

As for the Toughbooks, we use the 13.3" CF30s. Mainly for the extra screen space and the faster hardware. They aren't cheap though, at about 5 grand a machine.


I'm pretty sure Google is using the 2005 aerials because there is the nice "ring" around the city of 1' resolution aerials in their appp. Also, there were no aerials shot in 2003 (unless you count the FSA aerials)

Tom Casady said...


Check out the address of 8700 Andermatt Dr. Lincoln, NE in Google Maps or Google Earth, and I think you will confirm that these are the 2002 aerial photos (sorry, I was wrong about 2003--couldn't remember the year of the orthos that preceded the 20005 set).

BTW, if you check out the same address in Virtual Earth, I'm really perplexed at these photos. They clearly aren't the 2005 Lincoln orthos, because IHOP and Bennigan's are visible. And they aren't the Lincoln 2007 set, because of the vehicles visible in the lots and on the roads are all different. Wonder where these came from.


Probably not a buggy computer (although that's possible), it's more likely that slow performance is a function of the data path across our radio system in many cases. That's a very small pipe, and subject to the same kinds of problems you would experience with any radio system: coverage and other traffic competing for bandwidth. You can build a faster wireless network (like the OpenSky backbone used in the 2007 fleet, which is an improvement). It's all a matter of money: something that is in short supply.

user said...

The Panasonic Toughbooks make good tables when the MDTs go down in the middle of the night, which seems to happen more often lately.

Tom Casady said...

There's an issue with the latest release of the mobile data software, and the patch recently installed hasn't resolved it. It's being worked on by the vendor though, and we hope it gets resolved soon.

Anonymous said...

Check out Microsoft Virtual Earth on the weather channel's website. Those pictures must've been taken pretty recently, because my house was just built, and it's on there. For some reason, though, the names of the streets aren't listed. But it's kind of cool to zoom way in and see my house. :) It was a nice tool when I gave out directons for a party at my house. I just printed off the page and attached it to the email I sent out. Technology is fun. :)