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County law enforcement see savings from data mapping

(May 8, 2015) A new, detailed GIS Web Map system developed by a member of the staff of the Department of Development Review and Permitting has already shown promise, according to State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby and Col. Douglas Dods of the Sheriff’s office.

“When he sent me a link and told me to, essentially, to break this, I was able to use it to save six hours of investigation time,” Dods said.

A common practice when prototyping a new software system is the stress test — seeing how much the system can take before it fails. Since the developer’s specialty is building things, it is generally passed to potential users to put applications through their paces.

Mark Dunlevy, on staff at the department, developed the maps as part of a master’s degree he is pursuing at Salisbury University.

There were initial concerns about the county funding schoolwork or Dunlevy using work time to pursue his studies that were apparently worked out before the project could be undertaken. When the project was first proposed in December, County Attorney Sonny Bloxom said he had “ideas” on to handle the problem.

Dods said as part of the stress test he was able to determine a particular issue reported to the Worcester Sheriff’s office was going to require mediation, generally a function for the State’s Attorneys office.

The six hours of investigation time Dods estimated it would have taken without the maps was cut to 15 minutes.

“We’re only limited by what data is available,” State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby said.

Dunlevy, in his demonstration of the software, could pull up exterior photographs of buildings, view property lines, building footprints, corporate limits of municipalities and even drug free school zones.

These layers of detail could be toggled by users according to their needs. Not included were building footprints, but those functions for government buildings and schools could be linked in the future.

By highlighting an address, Dunlevy linked it to state records to show ownership status and other public information.

“We’ve already realized savings. Previously, if I needed a map I would ask someone in my office to contact Mark [Dunlevy], he would build it and send it,” Oglesby said. Now, Oglesby said, he can do it all himself.

“So, did you get an A?” Commissioner A. Chip Bertino said.

“This is part of the class,” Dunlevy replied, and pointed out his professor, Dr. Arthur Lembo, sitting in the gallery.

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