Friday, November 16, 2012

Visual Command Center: visualize more than just points on a map – Part II: Polygons

A few months ago, I wrote in my blog post on Enterprise Ready that “For many security organizations, the things they are trying to protect go beyond buildings and points on a map.” Many times, both companies and the public sector need to protect assets that are best described with lines or polygons.

Visual Command Center distinguishes itself from the competition by being able to not only represent internal or external data with points, but also with lines and polygons. Examples of assets that are best represented by lines include supply chain routes, borders, pipelines, railroad lines, electric power lines, and telecommunications transmission lines.
Polygons can represent property boundaries, no-fly or exclusion zones, geopolitical features such as jurisdictions or authorities, arbitrary boundaries like zip or postal codes, census tracts, or temporary areas of interest, such as areas of power outage or damage.

As we’ve seen from Hurricane Sandy (a.k.a. Superstorm Sandy), polygons have also been useful for demarcating the hurricane forecast path (see also Scott Caulk’s blog post last week), damage impact areas, areas without power, flood-prone areas, and other uses.

Here is an overview of how polygons are essential to three major functions within Visual Command Center: identify risk, interrogate the data, and initiate action.

We’ve used the included hurricane data feed within Visual Command Center to help us identify the risk to people and facilities. We have also drawn an additional polygon to represent a wider impact area. We can add this freeform polygon to the supplied forecast path/impact plume to filter and select all our assets (building locations) and people within the forecast affected area.

Visual Command Center includes a layer for geopolitical boundaries: census tracks, zip codes, counties, states, and countries. In addition to viewing the associated demographic data, any of these boundary polygons can be used to filter and interrogate your data.

state-boundary-polygonsIn this example, with just a couple of clicks, we’ve added state polygons together and turned this into a spatial query to filter all our data down to just the states that border a Great Lake.

A few of our customers have worked with the Visual Fusion SDK and API to create geo-fences. In one application, any vessel entering a specially demarcated exclusion zone on the map is immediately flagged and an alert is issued. In another, the zone has speed limits, so vessels may enter, and only those exceeding a threshold speed are flagged/alerted on for immediate action.

There’s a substantial amount of public geo-coded polygon data that can be useful in Visual Command Center. These data feeds can be brought into Visual Command Center in configuration (such as ShapeFiles, KML, ATOM, and GeoRSS).

You can easily add a geo-coded Web feed on the fly. Just copy and paste the URL, select the data style (polygons, points, or lines) and Visual Command Center does the rest.

In this example, we’ve located a publicly available feed in .KMZ format that identifies risk by providing the current boundaries of wildfires.

And finally, the Drive Time Analysis tool within Visual Command Center returns concentric polygons that indicate how long on could expect a drive to take from a designated point.

visual-command-center-polygon-drive-timeLike all polygons within Visual Command Center, these can be used to create a spatial query to interrogate data and initiate action.

For more information about how Visual Command Center's use of polygons data can help your organization identify risk, interrogate data, and initiate action, please contact us.

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