How to predict where meth labs will open up - use Google Maps

Steven Hodson

Well it looks like law enforcement will have a new tool in its toolbox in its fight against the proliferation of meth labs that is growing in cities across the nation.

Google Maps.

Yes, you read that right folks.

Apparently using something called geospatial predictive analysis researchers are able to use Google Maps, along with some really cutting-edge algorithms and data analysis, to find meth labs and track the gang activity around its production.

This new technology is just a part of the larger field of geographical information systems (GIS) that uses data points and software to turn maps into sophisticated analysis tools. In 2009 Max Lu, a professor at Kansas State University, used this type of technology to develop a new and interesting model to find meth labs.

Needless to say this caught the attention of law enforcement agencies around the nation who are collaborating to use the new technology in something called the Smart Policing Initiative that will allow them to integrate geospatial predictive analysis into their crimefighting toolbox.

Participating police departments such as Lowell, Massachussetts, and New Haven, Connecticut, are using similar methods to Lu's to find blocks likely to host discreet drug dealers or where car break-ins will take place. One firm, SPADAC (now owned by GeoEye), recently boasted of their ability to use predictive analysis to find suburbs that street gangs are likely to recruit in.

via Fast Company

via Fast Company