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Strategic information

System identifies with maps and photos the origin of telephone calls

An inhabitant of São José do Rio Preto (SP) calls the Military Police’s emergency service. Before being attended to, an operator seated in front of a computer installed in the corporation’s Service Center already knows the number of the telephone and the address of where the call came from. Almost at the same time, he has access to a map of the region, besides aerial photographs of the district and of the block, and frontal photographs of the residence or the business that called for help.

The information is passed on to the police car that is closest to the place, with details of any nearby wasteland there is, or pertinent data that may help to elucidate cases of robbery, stick-ups, and other occurrences. The immediate tracking of the calls, followed by geographical location, has been turned into a possibility with the Geofone system, developed by a company called Geodados Mapeamento e Pesquisa, with the support of FAPESP’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE).

“We realized that there was a demand in the market for information related to the origin of telephone calls and that it was possible to work with the technology of the telephone integrated with the technology of Geographical Information Systems (SIG), a database with information about zoning, properties, roads, schools and parks related to the geographical location”, says geologist Flávio Gonçalves Boskovitz, the coordinator of the Geofone project, in partnership with technologist Gabriel Gonçalves Dias Moreno.

In an integrated manner, the system uses the telephone, the telephone call identifier, and the computer, which instantaneously displays the place. Before that, though, the whole of the city needs to be mapped. Geofone was installed in the police department of São José do Rio Preto as part of the tests carried out to assess the viability of the project, approved in May 2000 and concluded in the same month of 2003. “We were benefited, because we have now managed to direct and coordinate in advance the action of the police”, says Sergeant Edimilson Leite da Silva. The program also works like a database that records, for example, the calls made in each region month by month, and the places with the highest levels of robberies of vehicles or thefts.

Single register
Attending to police emergencies is just one of the applications for Geofone. It was conceived to be used for public services that attend to citizens, as well as for private services of fast delivery and of customer service. A São Paulo municipality located in the region of Jundiaí, Caieiras, acquired the system to integrate the information concerning its 80,000 inhabitants. To do so, they signed up a contract worth R$ 250,000 with Geodados. To start with, the program was implanted in the Secretariat for Education, but it has now begun to be adopted by the other secretariats.

Carlos Alberto Reze, the city director for technology, says that all the calls are identified, regardless of its origin. “If the call was made from a conventional phone, the facade of the house appears, if it is from a phone booth, the street where it is located, and in the case of a mobile phone, the identification of the owner.”

According to Reze, if any kind of accident happens at school, while the student is taken to an emergency room, the parents are told about the accident. In the case of an emergency, both the schools and the emergency service have access to the pupil’s records, where details like his blood group, the diseases he has already had, and allergies to medicines are recorded. The inhabitants, in turn, can ask for any kind of information at the city hall, such as debts, taxes, etc., since all the municipal departments are linked together in a single register.

Essential data
In Potirendaba, a town with 14,000 inhabitants near to São José do Rio Preto, the system began to operate in March last year, integrated to Dial-Denouncement, a municipal service that accepts complaints and suggestions related to water, sewage, holes in the streets, health, and others. Every day, on average, five calls are attended to and forwarded to the area coordinators. “This is the most practical way for the mayor to know everything that is going on in the town”, says Rosângela Ferrari, who is responsible for the service.

At the moment, the team from Geodata is developing Geofone for the Fire Department of Botucatu (SP), forecast to come into operation in April. Besides the geographical information, the screen will also show essential data for choosing the vehicle and the instruments that will be sent to the place, like the type of building that is calling for the service. Should inflammable material be stored, for example, the properties in the environs will be advised of the risk.

Geofone has no competitors in Brazil, according to Boskovitz. Only one American companies offers a similar product, but far more expensive. For the time being, it has attracted mainly the attention of city halls, although it has already won over customers like pizza houses, pharmacies, and health insurance plans. “We believe that it is a solution that still has much room for being disseminated”, says Boskovitz.

The Project
Geofone – Integrated System for Getting Georeferenced Information for Emergency Services (nº 99/11676-6); Modality Small Business Innovation Research Program (PIPE); Coordinator Flávio Gonçalves Boskovitz – Geodados; Investment R$ 257,023.00