Geo-spatial technology has evolved into a tool that is used in the daily life of many people. This technology has transformed cell phones and automobiles into smart location devices. Smart mapping instruments use coordinates called geocode® to identify the latitude and longitude of a specific mapping location. These coordinates are then used by global positioning system (GPS) devices to find directions for travel. Geocode® is the necessary data element required to map an area for geo-spatial technology. They include date, time, latitude, and longitude of a specific location.
Geocoding is the process of marking landmarks or specific location with latitude and longitude coordinates. This process is typically done with mapping devices that use satellites to give the exact coordinates of a location. The geocode® data is then added into a database for use by other software systems. Each year new geocode® data is available to account for new streets and roads throughout the world.
Many natural disasters require the use of geocode® technology. This information is used as a device to track the destruction of an area. Volunteers typically walk through the destruction zone using GPS devices to mark landmarks of crumbled buildings and homes. This information is fed to a satellite and used by emergency rescue teams to determine where potential victims are located.
Geocoding is also used in the United States to assist in the management of forest fires. During a fire, the search and rescue team is armed with special geocode® devices that track the onset of spot fires and hot zones. This information is then fed into a central server that can be used to track the direction of the forest fire. Typically data elements including the time and location are tracked throughout the day to determine the path of the fire.
Most modern military units use geocode® technology. This software allows the field commanders a real-time monitoring of troop movements, casualties, and general status of the battlefield. Many military leaders carry GPS devices during the day to manage the battlefield. Today battlefield maps are fed into central computers that provide a more accurate depiction of the battle.
GPS devices are also used by many law enforcement agencies to track drug movement, gang activity, and general criminal statistics. The vehicles used by law enforcement include computer laptops and advanced GPS devices that enable the police officer to determine the fastest route to a destination. Continued advancement in this technology will enable the law enforcement agencies a historical view of drug routes, smuggling routes, and criminal hot zones within a specific city or jurisdiction.