Using Open Source Web GIS for Analysis of Transnational Illicit Trafficking


Illicit trafficking is a serious transnational crime to cause negative socio-economic effects as well as a way to constitute criminal funds promoting various transnational criminal activities. These transnational criminal operations could be detected and prevented by identifying transnational criminal organizations and analyzing high-risk routes for illicit smuggling. However, it’s still hard to find readily available global network data of all possible transportation modes and GIS applications supporting analysis of transnational trafficking pathways despite substantial efforts and progress on eradicating illicit trafficking and significant advances in GIS applications.

This project proposes to develop a Web-based GIS application that allows users to visualize locations and networks of the identified transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), access and display threat ranking posed by the TCOs, search trafficking routes of different transport modes, and evaluate risk of particular trafficking routes. The applied regions of this application are Europe, Africa, and Central America. Prior to implementation, we first collect geographic data such as global administrative areas, roads, railroads, airline routes, airports, ferries, ports, etc. from the GADM database ( ,national governments and other organizations. Some of shapefiles are created by geocoding and digitizing based on surveyed documents and satellite images.

Next, the web-based trafficking analysis application is implemented by building transport networks and customizing and integrating FOSS4G software. Transportation shapefiles imported to PostgreSQL using PostGIS command shp2pgsql. pgRouting is used to build network topology and to customize network routing algorithms that consider transport modes and restricted and preferred access to TCOs. This project employs GeoServer as a web GIS server and PostgreSQL/PostGIS as an object oriented relational database management system (ORDBMS) to store, manage, and disseminate spatial information through the Internet. OpenLayers 3 is used to show routes in a web-mapping application.

The presentation shows a development framework of web-based GIS application utilizing open-source GIS software and discusses advantages and limitations in using open-source software for developing web-based GIS applications.


Schedule info
Session Time Slot(s):
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 14:15 to 14:50