A new Bing Maps application is designed to offer an overall perspective over piracy incidents worldwide. Bing Maps Piracy Watch allows users to get an overview of pirate attacks around the world, but also additional information on specific cases. Built on top of Microsoft’s mapping, location and search platform, the app uses a combination of visual data, with pushpins illustrating the specific location of an attack, but it is also set up to deliver additional details related to each incident, through a popup box.
“Users have the ability to click any of the pushpins to get more information about the respective incident – specifically, the date of the incident, the type of ship that was victimized, the aggressor, and a short description of the incident which includes the location of the incident. The left panel provides additional ways to sort the data – by date, victim type or aggressor type,” Chris Pendleton, the Bing Maps technical evangelist for Microsoft, revealed.
Users are bound to be surprised by the sheer numbers of pirate attacks in just the last four months. A few typical attacks that I’ve read about involve pirates in high-speed boats, usually less than ten attackers, armed with automatic weapons and RPGs. Vessels are usually fired upon, with pirates attempting to board them with ladders and ropes with hooks attached to them.
Evasive maneuvers and increasing speed are sometimes the only way captains can protect their ships and crew. However, there are companies that have hired security personnel to engage pirates and there are also coalition forces patrolling areas with high rates of pirate attacks such as the Gulf of Aden and Somalia’s coast.
“The application was built by our good friends at IDV Solutions who have a slew of additional information about piracy including an interactive heat map of pirate activities around the world. This Bing Map App leverages web services hosted in IDV’s Visual Fusion Server to pull data into the map which is quite the powerful solution and one I’ve blogged about in the past,” Pendleton added.