New Brunswick Blazes the Trail on Getting its Data Ready for NG9-1-1

Leveraging the Public Safety GeoXchange to create a single, comprehensive and up-to-date road network and civic address database.

If we don’t do our job right on the GIS and civic addressing part, then we are compromising the 9-1-1 system. I recommend municipalities engage with their PSAPs to ensure that NG9-1-1 standards are understood and applied. The Public Safety GeoXchange is one such tool to deliver data in a more efficient fashion.

Diane Pelletier,
Director,
NB911 Bureau

The New Brunswick 911 Bureau is responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of 9-1-1 service to the province. Six Public Safety Answering Points, also known as Emergency Communication Centres (ECC), manage 9-1-1 call taking and transfer calls to appropriate emergency services. The Bureau has developed AddressNB, a point-based, web-centric civic address system, and is the aggregating authority for the New Brunswick Road Network (NBRN). These two functional elements have significantly improved GIS data availability for 9-1-1 operations and paved the way for Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1). By using Esri Canada tools to maintain this data, the NB 911 Bureau and its provincial and municipal partners have successfully generated a single, authoritative source and process to maintain road and civic address data in the province.

Challenge

A timely emergency response is dependent on many factors including accurate and authoritative location data. In fact, location is one of the most critical pieces of information that an operator requires to provide assistance to 9-1-1 callers. Next- Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) necessitates that ECC migrate onto the Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet), upon which the 9-1-1 calls will be routed based on a device’s coordinates rather than a fixed civic address. This transition will make accurate road and address data imperative for efficient 9-1-1 call-handling.

Recognizing the need to maintain a single, comprehensive and up-to-date road network and civic address database, the NB 911 Bureau needed to aggregate and standardize this data from multiple authoritative data providers from across the province, while minimizing the duplication of effort by multiple stakeholders. Moreover, it required enhanced GIS standards to ensure that existing and future GIS data are managed in a way that aligns with evolving technological requirements.

Solution

The NB 911 Bureau engaged Esri Canada to identify data management and workflow improvements, and tools to help New Brunswick municipalities deliver their road data to the Bureau. The Public Safety GeoXchange was used to help these 9-1-1 data stakeholders in the efficient management and sharing of GIS data. This solution is helping the NB 911 Bureau to maintain the NBRN, which features a complete dataset of the province’s roads including attributes such as road names, classes, speed limits, surface types and address ranges. Both ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Data Reviewer are leveraged as part of the solution, providing Address Data Management tools for managing road attributes, and for automating quality review processes for spatial data respectively.

The NBRN and AddressNB will provide critical location data to support the routing of 9-1-1 calls to the appropriate ECC and support the dispatch and routing of first responders to incidents.

The NBRN features a complete dataset of the province’s roads including attributes such as road names, classes, surface types and address ranges.

Benefits

The new GIS-based civic address system, with its intuitive visual interface, not only improves the user experience but also makes it easier to maintain and share data with partner organizations.

In Next-Generation 9-1-1, calls will be routed and delivered to the appropriate ECC based on coordinates instead of civic address. Therefore, standards and policies have to enable a GIS infrastructure that can easily support the demands required by 9-1-1 services across Canada. 

Esri Canada’s Public Safety GeoXchange facilitates the creation of standard GIS data exchange and aggregation, and greatly reduces time and effort by 9-1-1 stakeholders while ensuring that data meets or exceeds the standards set for NG9-1-1. Municipalities in New Brunswick have been set up to contribute their data directly to the Public Safety GeoXchange, from which the Bureau extracts data changes. This process allows the Bureau to minimize its maintenance efforts and focus only on quality control and applying the changes.

Other New Brunswick government departments are now looking to leverage the Public Safety GeoXchange and contribute to the NBRN. The GeoNB Portal publishes weekly downloads of the NBRN and helps the provincial government reduce costs.  With access to a common, authoritative set of road network data, these departments will be able to dispense with collecting and maintaining their own road network data and instead, focus their efforts on other priorities.

The new GIS-based civic address system has improved the user experience and helped maintain and share information with partner organizations.

About the Author

David Hamilton

David Hamilton is the Public Safety Industry Manager for Esri Canada. His efforts are focused on advising customers how to use GIS technology to improve all areas of public safety, specifically (NG)9-1-1, law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, emergency management, and search and rescue. Prior to joining Esri Canada in 2010, David managed the GIS for E-Comm 9-1-1 in Vancouver, and worked for the RCMP at the Integrated Security Unit for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games where he managed their Common Operating Picture. Being active has been a major part of David’s personal life; soccer, track & field, skiing, cycling, hiking and now kayaking are all among his favourite activities.

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