Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
911 operators can now visually inspect the area of an inbound caller's location through 3-D-like images.
The days of 911 operators only knowing callers' street location are over. In Durham, N.C., communication officers can now visually inspect the area of an inbound caller's location through images. The system, called Pictometry, produces aerial images from various angles (like this one, taken in Helsinki, Finland), allowing officers to measure the distance, height and elevation of surrounding structures. This data can give officers tactical advantages by finding alternative traffic routes to the location and uncovering the site's entry/exit points. The software--already being implemented in some other states--is wireless, so officers can follow a caller on the move. The system was financed by the North Carolina Chapter of the Emergency Number Association and the Durham Emergency Communications Center's 911 surcharge funds. (Photo: Luistxo eta Marije/Flickr)