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Esri Powers Security Efforts at Super Bowl

At a recent GovLoop and Esri meetup, Benton Yteman, director of solutions development and Captain Steve Pollackov, FDNY GIS Unit told the compelling story of how they leveraged PenBay Solutions and Esri’s ArcGIS Online to develop an application to meet all the security needs for the 2014 Super Bowl. Brian Lantz, public safety sales director, Esri, also discussed the common strategies being used by public safety agencies around the globe. The presentations highlighted the power of GIS to improve the safety and economic viability of communities.

“GIS and public safety is growing rapidly, used to visualize, analyze and then distribute information,” said Lantz. “The fact is that the ArcGIS platform has been adopted by state, local, federal and international public safety organizations as their standard.”

Globally, organizations are using GIS to help deliver improved situational awareness and gain real-time visibility to events as they occur. For public safety professionals, the ability of GIS to aggregate multiple sources of data, and consolidate the information through easy to consume maps has changed how organizations protect citizens.

In particular, GIS has helped safety officials change how they manage security during special events. “When we think about special events, we often think about that thing that happens once a year, but if you’re a public safety professional, special events are happening everyday, and it’s your mandate to make sure that everyone attending these events are safe and secure,” said Ytemen. Ytemen identified common challenges to remain secure during events:

  • Coordination of special events and sub event activities
  • Creating a cross agency security safety plan
  • Process for reviewing and approving security plans
  • Communications across jurisdictions
  • Sharing approved information layers
  • Field access to information

These were the challenges that faced Captain Pollackiv and Benton Yetman leading up to the Super Bowl. By leveraging PenBay’s InVision and Esri’s ArcGIS software, FDNY GIS Unit was able to keep the residents and tourists in New York City safe throughout the duration of the Super Bowl and related events.

New York City is no stranger to hosting major events. But certainly, hosting the Super Bowl was a new challenge for the city. Tasked with protecting New York City’s 322 square miles and over 8 million citizens, the FDNY relied on real-time information and data to keep citizens safe.

“Special events for us are a big part of the work in the FDNY GIS unit. We support about 150 special events per year,” said Captain Pollackov. But thanks to emerging technology, and fast deployment options, the FDNY was able to adopt secure technology solutions for Super Bowl security.

“We had to plan not for a couple, not 50, but about 300 events. Not only 300 events, but also we had to scourer the 9Internet for [Super Bowl related] events. A lot of the NFL events were listed on their website, but there were so many events not sanctioned by the NFL were going on,” said Pollackov. “The Super Bowl was a big deal for us, not only was it a big event, but it was also an event with all these events leading up to the big day,” said Pollackov.

FDNY leveraged PenBay’s InVision technology, which helped them improve the management of their facilities. This provided FDNY with improved visibility for portfolio management, planning, maintenance and daily operations.

With the use of ArcGIS Online, FDNY had the ability to quickly create powerful interactive maps, which could be shared across any device in real time. Whether an officer was looking at a tablet, desktop, browser or a smartphone, the information was consistent and delivered across devices.

The Power of GIS

The FDNY case study is an example of the power of GIS to improve public safety and the ability of GIS to drive better mission outcomes. “The fact that we can collaborate and bring that information in a common view and make it easily to view in real-time is a reason why I believe that public safety has adopted this technology,” said Lantz. “What we found is that a web map allows cultures to have a common medium to collaborate and talk together.”

“Very complex events, like the Super Bowl, so many moving parts, across jurisdiction, how do you make sense of that and be sure everyone is looking at the same information,” said Yteman.

The event showed that GIS has removed barriers for organizations to share data, and helps provide a holistic approach for agencies to solve their toughest security problems, within communities and across jurisdictions.

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Esri was founded in 1969, it realized even then that geographic information system (GIS) technology could make a difference in society. GIS helps people to solve problems at local, regional, national, and global scales. Access maps and apps at ArcGIS.com. Be sure to check out all the
 GIS resources produced by Esri and GovLoop.

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