The Dispatch offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to its locations, but even with its deceptively simple name, the concept can be a little confusing, especially if you’re just starting out or if you’re accustomed to using your Perspective site rollups in DispatchLog.
In this article, we’ll explain what locations and indoor location points are, how location data gets transferred into Perspective, and how your site rollups will appear in Dispatch.
What are locations?
In a nutshell, locations are places in Dispatch that are used to identify the exact whereabouts of a dispatch, task, officer, or Connect alarm. Dispatch locations are similar to site rollups (and your sites and locations can be linked together), but locations provide more features, along with the ability to create more robust location hierarchies with the use of indoor location points.
When you create a new dispatch or dispatch-related task, you must select a location in order to identify where an officer has to go to handle an activity or complete a task. Selecting an officer’s last known location is optional, but doing so helps dispatchers keep track of all on-duty security personnel.
Whenever a location is selected for a dispatch, task, officer, or alarm is sent into Dispatch, it appears on the Map panel, which is updated automatically and provides the dispatcher a visual breakdown of important information from various panels in the application. All locations must have unique GPS coordinates before they can be saved in Dispatch and this is to ensure the data that appears on the map is accurate and complete.
It’s important to note that locations are not automatically linked to your Perspective site rollups, but this can be done through the settings by a Dispatch administrator. Linking your locations to your site rollups isn’t mandatory, but if you want to use location data from Dispatch in your charts, reports, or the Perspective map, your sites and locations must be linked. See the How are locations transferred into Perspective? section below for more information.
What are indoor location points?
Indoor location points are locations saved within a top-level location (known as a master location in Dispatch). These points are designed to help dispatchers indicate the exact area of an activity for officers using Officer Mobile and to help keep track of where activities are occurring in your organization.
You can create indoor location points inside another indoor location, allowing you to drill down into the locations as much as you need to. This means your locations can be as general (e.g. East Campus) or specific (e.g. the north staircase of the left wing inside the East Campus) as you need them to be.
Indoor location points are similar to child sites in Perspective, but there are some crucial differences. In Perspective, you can create a root site, then up to three levels of child sites. In Dispatch, you can continue to make indoor location points within other indoor location points, surpassing the four-level restriction applied to site rollups.
Another difference between Perspective child sites and indoor location points is that you must upload an image, such as a floor plan or map, in order to save an indoor location point. The images help you build a location hierarchy by placing pins that indicate the exact whereabouts of the indoor location point.
If your organization wants to create locations and indoor locations based on your site rollups, it's important to consider that not all child sites are ideal indoor location points. For example, if the root site of your rollup was a university campus and its child sites were buildings on that campus, it would probably make more sense to create separate master locations for each building, provided they each had unique latitude and longitude coordinates.
For more information on creating an indoor location point, see the Indoor Location Points section in the Dispatch Administrator’s Guide.
Are locations the same as work zones?
No. Locations are saved places that are used to identify the exact whereabouts of a dispatch, task, officer, or alarm, whereas work zones designate areas of responsibility.
When it comes to dispatches, a work zone is the general area where a dispatch is occurring, but the location is the specific place the officer will need to go to. Work zones allow you to segment your resources around certain areas and therefore lessen the chances that an officer may be too far away to respond to a dispatch. For this reason, you should consider how your work zones are set up when creating locations. For more information, see Dispatch: What Are Zones & Teams?
How is location information transferred into Perspective?
Once a dispatch is closed, its data is transferred into Perspective as a new activity. The location information from every dispatch is displayed in the Description field of the activity and any address information is automatically filled out in the address fields, as shown in the screenshot below.
If the location of the dispatch is linked to a Perspective site, the site fields, up to the fourth level of the rollup (i.e. Site, Building, Location, and Section), will automatically populate based on the values selected in Dispatch.
Note: Your installation of Perspective may not display the same form labels as these fields may have been renamed.
If your organization wishes to automatically track Dispatch activities by site, a Dispatch administrator must configure the location to link it to a Perspective site.
For more information on how to link your locations to a Perspective site, see the Locations chapter in the Dispatch Administrator’s Guide.
What happens to my site rollups when I start using Dispatch?
Perspective and Dispatch are designed to work together, but because they’re two separately managed applications, they have two different structures for identifying the whereabouts of important events. The key difference between your sites and locations is that site rollups are used for incident and activity records and to analyze data in charts and reports in Perspective whereas locations are used to identify the whereabouts of a dispatch, task, officer, or alarm in Dispatch.
Sites are not automatically saved in Dispatch as locations, however, if the Perspective Site Rollup Search option has been enabled by an admin, Dispatch can see your sites and will display them as search results when you enter applicable search terms in the Search locations field of various panels.
If the site has unique latitude and longitude coordinates saved to its record in Perspective, you have the option of selecting the site in the Create Dispatch panel, thereby saving the site as a new location. Both dispatchers and administrators can save sites as locations using this method, however, it’s generally recommended that dispatchers avoid creating locations whenever possible, as an administrator will likely need to review and edit those locations to ensure their accuracy.
For more detailed information on how your sites appear in Dispatch, as well as instructions on saving those sites, see the Create Locations from Perspective Site Rollups section in the Dispatch Administrator’s Guide.
What if a dispatcher only needs to create a location for one or two dispatches?
Administrators can allow dispatchers to create temporary locations that are cleared from the system once the associated dispatch is closed and cleared from the Closed Dispatches panel. The details of these temporary locations are recorded in the Description field of the activity in Perspective. For more information, see the Quick Add Locations section of the Dispatch Administrator’s Guide.
Where do I get more information about locations?
If you’re an administrator, check out the Dispatch Administrator’s Guide. If you’re a dispatcher, see the Dispatch User’s Guide. These guides can be downloaded from our User Guides page. Both administrators and dispatchers can also watch the Dispatch Full-Length Recording training videos.
Of course, if you still have questions or need some help, you can always contact our Support team.