NG9-1-1: How do you know that your GIS data is ready?

March 4, 2020 Barry Costello

The first step in the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1(NG9-1-1) takes place this June. By June 2023 the ESInet will completely replace the existing 9-1-1 analogue networks, and the Emergency Services Working Group (ESWG) has specified that GIS technology will be used to route mobile calls to PSAPs.

The use of GIS to route a 9-1-1 call to the corresponding PSAP replaces the look-up table approach currently used by the 9-1-1 service providers.  As a result, good GIS data is needed.  The next version of the NENA Standard for NG9-1-1 GIS Data Model will support Canadian data structures, and is targeted to be approved by late 2020.  If your organization provides data to the existing 9-1-1 system you should review your operations to assess your NG9-1-1 readiness.

Tip: review commonly-used next-generation 9-1-1 terms and acronyms here

How you manage your data will have a significant impact on how successful you will be meeting the goals of NG9-1-1. 

Data management is like an iceberg. The data is obvious. What isn’t so visible are the operations and the organizational enablers that support the production and maintenance of data.

NG9-1-1 data providers should consider conducting a NG9-1-1 readiness assessment to see what lies beneath the surface. You can DIY or hire a specialist. 

  • NG9-1-1 requires specific data. It should be straight forward to find the gaps between the core data you have and what the NENA GIS data standard for NG9-1-1 proposes long-term.
  • NENA recommends a 72-hour end-to-end address process, encompassing the creation or manipulation of GIS data relevant to NG9-1-1 (road network, address points, etc.).barr
  • Developing an understanding of your operations through the information lifecycle and process flow models should indicate whether data operations are ready to support public safety and the evolution to NG9-1-1 in your community:
    • is your data as up to date as it could be?
    • is the flow of information between the creator, custodian and users efficient?
    • do you have the capacity to meet the need?
    • is everyone using the same data?
  • Organizations know that the quality of service is dependent on the quality and timeliness of information. NG9-1-1 requires a much higher level of GIS data accuracy and currency than the existing 9-1-1 system provides. Your organization may need to change how it supports the GIS operations related to 9-1-1.

Understanding your operations tells you how ready you are for NG9-1-1.

Let Esri Canada help with your Next Generation 9-1-1 readiness assessment

About the Author

Barry Costello is a consultant assisting the New Business Development team at Esri Canada, and dedicated to the Next Generation 911 initiative. He brings over four decades of experience in spatial technology with expertise in GIS management, Parcel (owned and assessment), Forestry and Healthcare sectors. Barry has consulted on many projects across Canada and brings a diverse perspective with international experience from the U.S., Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Brazil and New Zealand. In his spare time, Barry loves to sail and keeps humble by toiling on the golf course. Barry Costello resides in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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