July 10, 2012
Liz published this at 1:00 pm
Mihaela Lica Butler
Street Smarts: The Police Get Grafetee
That the police are testing a location-based app called Grafetee may not necessarily have criminals fleeing in fear, but the idea of a country’s national police turning to mobile tools is noted. The Poliisi, as Finland’s top law enforcement arm is called there, intend on making neighborhoods safer via smart device usage, social media engagement and interactive maps.
Finland. Most of you, readers, will probably identify this Scandinavian country as way up in the far frozen North and a bit too far away to consider public safety moves as relevant. But, given the spread of good news and useful things that make life better, it may not be long before your local public servants tune in on using geo-location tools like Grafetee.
For those unfamiliar with the Helsinki startup, and their engaging little social tool, Grafetee makes use of smart technology, via either iOS or Android operating systems, along with map-centric services like Foursquare, Wikipedia, and even Yelp of late. What does the PoPo up there in Finland want with such a tool, you ask? They are trying to make Finland safer than it already is. Petri
Marjamaa from the National Police Board commented about the adaptation:
“We are adopting Grafetee to test how a social media service is applicable to make the neighborhood safer and to help residents to influence their own neighborhood’s safety.”
Grafetee’s Watching You … Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
Grafetee being used by law enforcement in Finland is not the first time a mobile or social tool has been adopted to improve things, but the App does have some unique features which make this story more interesting. The Poliisi can use Grafetee’s characteristic location-based interactive map, and particularly the notification and bookmarking aspects, for getting information about crime, traffic hazards, and especially for being there when urgency and accuracy of detail counts. Short story here being, Grafetee’s interactive map operates in “real time” – and users (citizens) can add images to the locations, describe what happens, share with others anonymously if desired, and so much more.
That’s because anyone can use Grafetee anonymously – no need to sign up or connect a Facebook account. A few taps of the screen and a crime can be reported, or the Police can input data the public needs to know in real time too. Think of all the uses Grafetee users on both ends can squeeze out of a little Finnish smart app.
There’s a mobile version, Android or iOS, and a web version on, lahivinkki.com, for anyone interested in testing the latest version. Also, another aspect of Grafetee’s individuality is the ability for businesses to add their places, events, and even web locations via a browser bookmarklet. On top of the Foursquare, Wikipedia, and Yelp pins you can already use on the map, there are also now many local businesses and even websites tied into the Grafetee way of smart things.
Grafetee, or should that be “Graffiti”, seems like one of those simple little tools that ends up being widely accepted. Just like street artists express themselves via murals, now everyone can put a name on just about anything, even a potential crime. Let’s see how fast other government agencies and businesses hop on board with special uses. Interesting stuff, huh?