Photo/Story Gallery 2003

Plotting Crash Data

Capt. Gaston and Lt. Harris check crash locations on the map they developed as part of their Master’s program at the University of North Florida.Captain Keith Gaston and Lieutenant Urana Harris have developed a pilot program in Clay County that could be used throughout the state to plot crash locations in exact measurements. As graduate students at the University of North Florida, and as part of UNF’s Geographic Information System Theory and Application class, Gaston and Harris looked for a reliable, relatively easy way to graphically display crash information and spot trends in crashes.

As part of the class project, Gaston and Harris used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to accurately plot the location of crashes in Clay County. Before this, the location of a crash was available only from a combination of the roadway name and a cross street. To solve this problem, a GPS receiver was installed in an FHP patrol car to import latitude and longitude coordinates into a laptop computer. The information was then transferred from the laptop to a crash report server and then to a geographical information server.

The long-term goal is to have all traffic crash reports entered and sent to different users. Anyone would be able to view up-to-date data via the web for the state, a county, a community, or even for a particular roadway. The GIS course at UNF is targeted toward students in the master’s programs for public health, public administration and sociology. The intent is to provide graduate-level students with an opportunity to use GIS in their own professions. Both Captain Gaston and Lieutenant Harris were recently profiled about their project in University of North Florida’s Inside UNF Newsletter.