Police are using Google Maps Coordinate to keep track of deputies while they're on duty.
Google Maps Coordinate was introduced about a year ago, combining Google Maps with Google Latitude, adding a tracking tool to the ever-expanding Google Maps.
While initially available for Android, Google launched an iPhone app earlier this year.
Last fall, the Travis County Sheriff's Department (Austin, Texas) began using the tool, and Deputy Chief Jim Sylvester discussed their use of it in a Google blog post on Tuesday.
"Until recently, we didn’t have technology that could give us the precise location of our deputies, which made it difficult to ensure their safety at all times," wrote Sylvester. "For instance, when deputies left their patrol cars to pursue a suspect on foot, we were not able to track their movements in real-time to dispatch additional assistance. For that reason, we decided to try Google Maps Coordinate."
"It didn't take long for the team to pick it up: our deputies needed less than 10 minutes of instruction before they were ready to start using the product themselves," said Sylvester. "We put it to the test during the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix weekend in Austin in November 2012, which drew more than 120,000 attendees. With Google Maps Coordinate running across all our devices, our dispatchers were able to interface and organize the deputies throughout the event in real-time. Our personnel knew the exact locations of all available law enforcement resources in the area at any given moment."
Sylvester said the department is making Google Maps Coordinate a regular part of its toolset, and intends to use it at the Republic of Texas biker rally this month, which is expected to draw a huge crowd. The department will also use it for various special events as well as day-to-day bike and foot patrols.