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IBM mixes search, mapping to fight crime

Big Blue unveils a system that plots geographic information contained in police databases, to more easily reveal crime trends.

Yahoo and others have come out with search technology to make it easier to find restaurants; now IBM is using similar concepts to make it easier to anticipate where liquor store robberies will occur. Big Blue has unveiled a system that plots geographic information contained in police databases so that officials can more easily see trends in crime. Called the Crime Information Solution, the system collects data from 911 calls, crime reports and other sources, and lets police cross-check them in a variety of ways that previously have been difficult to accomplish. The system will be sold by IBM Global Services.

The use of geographic information has become one of the more active subspecialties in the database and search world. Start-up GeoFusion, for example, has created software that transforms geographical data, such as the movements of tagged animals, into graphics. Software from MetaCarta, meanwhile, tags geographic references in data to create maps that could illuminate traffic patterns or the movement of a person.