Festival policing mapped out

Innovative mapping technology was used by Avon and Somerset Constabulary at this year’s Glastonbury Festival to create a digital map of the festival site at Worthy Farm, which officers could view, with their precise location shown, on a mobile handset. The new software allowed officers to patrol and respond to incidents more effectively and efficiently. 

Aug 5, 2010
By Paul Jacques
L-R: PC Joe Swan, Sgt Thomas Neilson and Sgt Chris Smith

Innovative mapping technology was used by Avon and Somerset Constabulary at this year’s Glastonbury Festival to create a digital map of the festival site at Worthy Farm, which officers could view, with their precise location shown, on a mobile handset. The new software allowed officers to patrol and respond to incidents more effectively and efficiently. 

It is believed to be the first time that digital mapping technology such as this had been used to police a festival anywhere in the world.


It proved so successful that other potential uses are already being explored, including mapping no-alcohol zones and bail conditions and exclusion orders associated with offenders.


Although the police officers’ mobile handsets are already equipped with global positioning system (GPS) mapping, the standard maps which show Worthy Farm’s fields do not include the temporary infrastructure which appears for the duration of the festival and changes the landscape beyond recognition. This huge infrastructure supports the thousands of people who attend the festival and is equivalent in size to the city of Bath – with hundreds of stalls erected and paths and camping areas created. 


To help police the area effectively, Avon and Somerset Constabulary worked with mapping and navigation software specialist Memory-Map to create a custom map showing a detailed view of the entire site. Not only did it include key landmarks, it also included a grid reference and coloured zones to allow officers to quickly establish the positions of incidents and ensure a quick and appropriate response from officers.


Chief Inspector Ben Johnson explained: “In previous years, officers working at the festival had to carry a bundle of maps. It used to be very easy to beco

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