Enterprise GIS
Enterprise GIS Research and Development Administration

"Game Day" GIS Application Improves Stadium Security for Home Football Games

Click Image to view “Game Day” GIS Application Screenshots

A new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application for event management was tested at the first home football game in Lane Stadium on the Virginia Tech campus.  This application, which allows police and emergency responders to digitally track and view security and safety activities using a web-enabled, spatial platform, was developed by Seth Peery, Sr. GIS Architect for Enterprise GIS; Mahesh Narayanamurthi, Industrial and Systems Engineering graduate student; Luke Ward, Technology Manager; and Richard Phipps, Systems Administrator, all working under the department of Converged Technologies for Security, Safety and Resilience reporting to the Vice President for Information Technology, Erv Blythe.  The map displays GIS layers for incidents, rescue squad and police resources, stadium seating location references, and interior space floor plans overlaid on top of an aerial view of the stadium and surrounding areas.

As police and rescue squad calls come into the stadium emergency operations command center, Bobbi Myers, of the University’s Office of Emergency Management, inputs both reported incidents and the location of responder(s) deployed to the scene.  Data points are immediately stored in the university’s Enterprise GIS system, from which they can later be used in analysis and planning.   As each game is unique, the application provides a picture of events as they happen, giving responders the information they need to identify problem areas and strategically redeploy assets in response to changing circumstances.   Each type of resource is referenced using a unique icon or color, and a legend provides a visual reference.  To prevent information overload and improve situational awareness during the event, these layers can be selected individually to appear on the map or to not appear as needed.

Click Image to view “Game Day” GIS Application Screenshots

The application also provides a search capability, enabling responders to enter an officer’s name and quickly pinpoint on the aerial image where that officer was last stationed.  Because the time of each incident is recorded, responders can view the day’s unfolding events as a time-lapse animation, to help them better understand when, as well as where, "hot spots" of activity took place.

In past seasons for home football games, the police and emergency responders used large paper maps in the command center and manually annotated resource positions and incidents of note.  The GIS application facilitates more efficient viewing and tracking of resources and responses, and also significantly enhances post-game analysis of safety and security events.  As the season progresses, police will have a historical record of all the security and safety incidents from each game, along with the number of officers, emergency vehicles, and rescues that were needed.  VTPD captains Joey Albert and Vince Houston participated in the development of the application, and were on hand at the September 3 game to put it to use for the first time.  Captain Houston remarked, "The GIS Application, which was very user friendly, made the task of tracking events and resources during the football games more efficient.  Tracking our resources is a critical component to ensuring public safety during the game which enables the Unified Command in the Emergency Operation Center to manage each event effectively."

"Game Day" GIS Application
Esri Development Center (EDC)