GeoCarta Has Moved

Jun 27, 2008

GIS Used to Fight Drunk Driving

Not every new application for GIS gets posted here. However, this one was so different from the norm it was worth a mention. KUSA-TV in Denver has a story on how Weld County Sheriff's Deputies are using GIS to help prevent DUI crashes:

Several years back, law enforcement started working with the Weld County's GIS (Geographic Information System) department to create a map that would pinpoint the stretches of road where DUI crashes are most prevalent.

"Before having this, it was basically by word of mouth," said Paul Wood, Weld County Traffic Division Commander. "[We tried] to get officers together and go through old traffic reports and so forth and try and come up with these hotspots."

The sheriff's office saw new technology as a way to escape that subjective practice.

"What we wanted to do is get out of that paper format of looking at these crash reports and put them on a map and get the human bias out of it," said Matt Dixon, GIS analyst.

Now armed with a map that uses a color system to show the location of hotspots and how "hot" they are, deputies are more confidant as they pick out places to set up DUI checkpoints.

"I think it helps us to target the deployment of our assets and make the most use out of manpower," Wood said.

The spokesman for the Sheriff's Office says that a number of other law enforcement agencies have taken a look at their system with plans to adapt it to their own jurisdictions.