Jun 24, 2020
From IALEIA’s Intelscope newsletter, June 2020 edition: GeoTime was recently featured for its use during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the article below, or click here.
From criminal investigations to COVID-19 pandemic reporting: GeoTime does it all
It’s not often that intelligence analytics tools end up being multidisciplinary, but when they do, are they ever valuable.
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting North America in its full capacity, and cities were starting to go on lockdown, many intelligence agencies and entire law enforcement departments were unofficially reassigned from their usual duties. While governments were busy figuring out action plans, analysts and law enforcement professionals were asked to help stem the rate of infection, increase the rate of reporting, and overall keep the peace.
Around this time, the support team at GeoTime (by Uncharted Inc.) fielded a question from a local law enforcement department in the north-east United States on how they could make sure of their existing tools to help with mapping COVID-19 related data. The analyst was recently reassigned to help prepare daily COVID-19 briefing reports and was wondering whether he could apply the techniques he used in GeoTime for his regular duties for this new process. Would he be able to use the same location-based data, cell-phone tracking, and timeline technology to map the spread of cases of COVID-19?
The GeoTime team’s answer? Absolutely. It’s possible and relatively easy for analysts to get all the information they need using open source information (like shapefiles of different counties), and output valuable reports with an easy visual analysis of the spread of COVID-19. Not only that, but by inputting key information about the cases, it’s also possible to do in-depth contact tracing based on cell-phone data, key locations like long-term care homes, and known outbreaks.
The GeoTime platform is an easy-to-use mapping solution and call-records analysis tool. Instead of listing out locations on a chart, GeoTime typically helps analysts see interactions amongst targets, locations (based on cell-phone data, social media posts, etc), and events over time so they can communicate information easily to their investigative teams and make smart decisions faster.
In criminal cases, this technology is crucial for investigative units to identify trends in suspect’s movements and explore any further links or new information. During the pandemic, the technology has been applied to identify trends and hotspots where the disease is concentrated and where it’s heading. By mapping out infected persons with the dates of infection, as well as their movement and cell-phone data, it’s possible for officers and analysts to see trends and hotspots of disease.
As an example, the instigating client noticed a concentration of cases around a certain neighborhood pop up within a few days of each other thanks to GeoTime’s help. After questioning the infected parties, they found out that all had recently attended an illegal, non-socially-distant wedding a week prior to their symptoms. By using innovative thinking and applying industry-specific technology in a new way, the analyst was able to simplify the contact-tracing process related to the social event and get asymptomatic wedding-goers to testing centers sooner to help prevent the further spread of the virus.
This atypical application of GeoTime’s mapping technology expands on its current capabilities one step further by increasing the tracking from one suspect to multiple cases. By applying it to many cases and being able to visualize cases over a period of time and in 3D, investigators can predict where the spread of COVID-19 might expand, and how to get ahead of it. Not only that, but they’re able to then summarize that information and update key stakeholders by exporting easy, visual graphs.
Darryl Valinchus, a former NYPD sergeant and current law enforcement liaison for GeoTime, says, “You don’t need to be intimidated because you’ve never dealt with a pandemic before. You can apply all your existing skills from using mapping applications like GeoTime to help in challenging situations. The technology is versatile, and helps you get valuable summaries of crucial information at the click of a button. We can provide guidance on how to best use it for whatever you’re solving for, and show you the best workflows, how to hone in on the hotspot areas, and apply what you already know to help solve new problems like the current global pandemic.”