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Getting The Picture!

By [email protected] - 18th January 2007 - 17:02

Following the purchase of two high resolution Ricoh GPS cameras from UK distributor KOREC, Reading Borough Council (RBC) has become the first council in the country to use this technology in its fight against graffiti.
The Council previously dealt with graffiti on an ad hoc basis, recording incidences on paper job sheets and then processing them.However it was realised that tangible evidence would be needed to prosecute offenders and keep track of where and when incidents were occurring. The Councilâs Streetcare Manager Chris Camfield therefore approached the GIS and Mapping Department to investigate how this information could best be captured.The GIS and Mapping Department was already familiar with the Ricoh GPS camera through a workshop hosted by UK distributor KOREC. Following a demonstration from KOREC and a successful trial, it was decided that the camera would be a rugged and viable solution to provide date stamped pictures with coordinates and two were immediately purchased.Camera BenefitsRBC records all graffiti instances. They now have a visual image with which to identify persistent offenders by their âtagsâ and pinpoint the areas they hit. The cameras work by automatically embedding the captured graffiti images with GPS coordinates. At the same time, up to five user-defined attributes such as graffiti type (spray paint, marker pen etc.) and whether or not the graffiti was offensive can be recorded on the camera and these attributes, along with the image, transferred into the Councilâs office based corporate GIS. Trouble spots for graffiti can be accurately determined and the evidence used to build business cases for mitigating measures such as funding for CCTV or increased traffic warden and police patrols in specific areas. An additional bonus is that RBC operates the same corporate GIS as Thames Valley Police allowing easy export of up-to-date, relevant data to their system.For GIS and Mapping Officer Louise Angell, the benefits are clear. âThe Ricoh GPS camera has provided RBC with a cost-effective way of recording something that costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds per year. Even if the camera produces enough evidence for one prosecution, this could in turn save tens of thousands of pounds worth of money with less graffiti on our Streets. Council Officers take great pride in making Reading the best place possible for its many residents and visitors, and harnessing technology like this makes it even more possible.â

Author: Lucy Hamilton

Bio.: Media Liaison

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