Purdue University Software Toolkit Provides Visual Analytics Aid to First-Responders

Researchers at a Homeland Security Center of Excellence have developed a software “toolkit” that provides real-time data in a manner that allows law enforcement and other first responders to swiftly analyze high-volume criminal, traffic and civil incident data and related emergency management and disaster preparedness events so they can more strategically allocate resources.

Called the Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit (VALET), the technology was developed by Purdue University researchers specifically for law enforcement and disaster assistance first-responders to reduce crime and assist people, the university announced.

“One of my sayings is, ‘We need to work smarter, not harder,’ and the VALET toolkit allows us to pull data so we are in a better position to put officers in the right place at the right time when a situation arises,” said John Cox, Purdue University’s chief of police. “Providing this type of situational awareness gives us the higher level of assessment so we can better cover high-crime areas or give officers context of what is happening so they know what they are walking into when on patrol or responding to a call.”

“According to a statistical analysis based on historical data, the software program includes temporal prediction algorithms to forecast future criminal, traffic and civil incident levels within a 95 percent confidence interval, meaning the estimates of the collected data could be reliably repeated and used to predict future behaviors or actions,” the university said in its announcement.

The VALET software can be used on most computers. Its companion software, called iVALET, was designed for use on iPhones and iPads.

“Predictive and proactive analytics that creates a picture of what is happening at any given time and what could happen in an hour or a day or a week is a tremendous help for law enforcement and disaster relief officials,” said David Ebert, director of Purdue’s Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments (VACCINE), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence.

According to Purdue, “The technology enables law enforcement agencies to interactively visualize and analyze their datasets in linked geospatial or mapping and temporal views of time graphs, calendars and clock views.

“We are doing more than providing law enforcement officers with specific data covering their areas, because we’ve developed a portal for potential other issues such as prominent calendar dates, zoning tracts and even weather reports to help officers in their daily routines to protect the public,” said Abish Malik, a graduate research assistant in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Collaborators in the development of VALET include the Purdue University and West Lafayette police departments, the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Law enforcement agencies can obtain trial versions of the software packages from its Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments department.

A video about VALET and iVALET can be viewed here.

Photo top: John Goetz, Purdue University police patrol sergeant, uses the Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit to track traffic and civil incident data. (Photo provided by Purdue Research Foundation)

Photo bottom: The Visual Analytics Law Enforcement Toolkit (Screen shot provided by Purdue Research Foundation)

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