Microsoft has been helping the New York Police Department (NYPD) build a Domain Awareness System (DAS) to help fight terrorism and solve crimes. DAS takes live CCTV, radiation detectors, license plate readers, live incident and police reports and ties them all together in a graphical computer display so that law enforcers can track criminals and their activities more intuitively.
No longer stovepiped
In a report today in the New York Daily News the new DAS system was revealed to have cost between $30 million and $40 million to develop. The New York mayor Michael Bloomberg boasted about how advanced the new DAS system is; “We’re not your mom and pop police department anymore. We are in the next century. We are leading the pack.” Not a very technical explanation but probably good enough for voters. The NYPD Police Commissioner offered a better insight as to the benefits of the new DAS system; “For years, we’ve been stovepiped as far as databases are concerned. Now, everything that we have about an incident, an event, an individual comes together on that workbench, so it’s one-stop shopping for investigators.” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
30 per cent cash back!
In a canny move by the New York mayor/NYPD “the city will receive 30 per cent of all revenues from Microsoft sales of the Domain Awareness System” Mayor Bloomberg said. He added that the investment in DAS makes the city safer and will also pay for itself in royalties and even “maybe make a few bucks”.
The Wall Street Journal has some more background information upon how the DAS was created. Joel Schectman at the WSJ says the DAS system is an amalgamation of other Microsoft software technologies “such as SharePoint and the mapping software Virtual Earth”. Further that “In DAS, the tools allow police to immediately access thousands of cameras, while cross-checking criminal records and mapped patterns of past crimes. The tools also send alerts from “dirty bomb” detection tools stationed at high traffic areas, and allow officers to instantly view license plate numbers that were captured by cameras.” NYPD police know-how helped enhance and refine these software tools to be fit for the purpose of crime prevention and law enforcement.