Shotspotter Blog

Alternate Views of Precise Gunfire Location

ShotSpotter offers three different map views. Using the correct map view will help to
determine the most tactically sound approach, and locate suspects, victims, witnesses and evidence. In this post, we will explain the unique advantages of each view and when you might prefer to use one over the other two.

The ShotSpotter Flex Alert Consoles and Investigator Portal have interactive maps that can be used to identify the location of a gunfire alert.  These maps have three views;   Aerial, Bird’s Eye (both satellite views) and Road.  Although they may seem similar, it is important to note that there are distinctions among these maps views.

Aerial View is the default setting.  A satellite view from directly above the dot depicts the precise location of the shooting (i.e., looking down onto the dot from above at a 90 degree angle from the ground).  The straight down view depicts the gunfire location most accurately. Measurements with the distance tools located in the ShotSpotter Flex applications should be used in this view.

Aerial provides landmarks and other relative points to determine the exact location of the dot (i.e., in the backyard or street).  Please note that the map tiles that are used may not show very recent changes made in the neighborhood.

Bird’s Eye View is also a satellite view but from a 45 degree angle.  Because of this angle and the curvature of the earth, the location of the dot will not be as accurate as the dot in Aerial View.  Therefore, it is important NOT to use the measuring tools to determine the location of the dot from landmarks and/or to determine the 25 meter search area. 

Bird’s Eye view is best used to see the elevation and exposures of any target structure. 
–  Elevation refers to the number of stories the structure may be. 
–  Exposure refers to the location of threat exposures (doors and windows) to be aware of while approaching and investigating the scene.  The user can orbit the dot by using the widgets that appear just above the zoom bar.  Below is the same event seen in Bird’s Eye View, note how the dot has moved from its true location.

Road View is the only view that is not a satellite view.  It is similar to Aerial View in that it looks straight down onto the dot so the distance tools can be used with more accuracy.  Road View removes all the landmarks from the map and leaves only the streets.

This view may be helpful to find the general location of the alert if the responding officer is unfamiliar with the best route to drive.  It is also helpful to assist in setting up containment perimeters as the street names and intersections are easily viewed.  In most cases it will be necessary to zoom out for the Road View map to be useful.  Below is the same event seen in Road View (zoomed out).

As always, we encourage all ShotSpotter Flex users to use the maps in different views along with all the interactive mapping tools available to them on every alert and investigation of an alert.  In addition, these maps have value in other types of law enforcement investigations where more advanced and interactive maps would be useful such as:

• Searching for a missing person to understand the search area

• Conducting a yard-to-yard search for a suspect to view the backyards of the houses

• Recreating a pursuit route using the distance tools

Remember, each view has advantages and it is important to use the appropriate view depending on needs of the user.  Use the correct map view to increase your safety and the likelihood of a successful investigation!

October 02, 2014
By: Ed Flosi, Sr. Director, Training & Customer Development