Tybee Island city leaders use technology to track number of people on island

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Tybee Island only has 3,000 permanent residents, but the actual number of people on the island at any given time is much, much higher than that.

So, to get accurate data about how many people that may be, city leaders have to look no further than the palm of your hand.

“If we know that traditionally over the last five years we’ve had 50,000 people on the Island on a certain day, we can now see that in Placer and plan for it better,” said city manager Michelle Owens.

Tybee Island only has 3,000 permanent residents, but the actual number of people on the island at any given time is much, much higher than that.

The City of Tybee has been using Placer since the spring. The company uses geo-fence technology to gather data from mobile devices in a set area, though the users of those devices remain anonymous.

“There’s no personally identifying information, or what’s called PII, in that data when we get it. We just see numbers and aggregations.”

City officials have access to data as far back as five years. The data can be useful when applying for grants, or even just planning day-to-day operations.

“We can do a lot better spot planning and planning for numbers of code enforcement, lifeguards, police and fire that we need to have available. We can now anticipate needs in terms of like, traffic protocols.”

“Being able to see those trends and where the numbers are lying really helps our businesses to be able to plan for their success in their businesses, and the city planning with how we can utilize our resources on the island to service those number of people,” said Tybee Main Street Development Authority director Cassidi Kendrick.

City leaders tell me that this 4th of July weekend, weather permitting, they’re expecting to draw the biggest crowds that Tybee Island has ever seen.

So now, thanks to Placer, they’re able to plan for that more accurately than ever before.

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