NG911 GIS: The Role of Geographic Information Systems in Next Generation 911

Posted in All, news-and-resources, NGA911 on Jul 17, 2023

Technology has come a long way in the public safety industry, and the introduction of the NG9-1-1 system is one of the biggest advancements. The NG9-1-1 infrastructure supports multimedia communications and integrates data from various sources to improve public safety and emergency response services. Most importantly the integration of better GIS, which provides essential location-based data during emergencies. 

In this blog from NGA, we will explore the important role GIS plays in the NG911 system.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is NG9-1-1?
  2. What is GIS?
  3. GIS for NG9-1-1: Is it Necessary?
  4. How Does GIS Work with Next Generation 9-1-1?
  5. How GIS Can Help Improve Emergency Response 
  6. Future Advancements in GIS for NG9-1-1
  7. Challenges Facing GIS in NG9-1-1
  8. Conclusion 

What is NG911?

NG9-1-1, also known as Next Generation 9-1-1, is a revolutionary emergency response system currently being implemented across the United States. It's designed to provide emergency services with more accurate and detailed location data, which will help to improve response times and save more lives. 

Essentially, NG9-1-1 is an internet protocol (IP) and cloud-based system that enables emergency services to handle calls and messages from various sources, including voice, text, images, and videos.

What is GIS?

GIS, or Geographic Information System, is a computer-based infrastructure that captures, stores, analyzes, and manages geographically referenced data. In simple terms, it is a mapping system that can visualize and understand various data types in a geographic context. 

For example, GIS is used to map the location of roadways, buildings, and other infrastructures that can help pinpoint the exact location of a 9-1-1 caller and emergency incident.

GIS for NG911: Is it Necessary?

GIS is a powerful tool that can be used to provide accurate and precise location data for emergency services. By combining GIS with NG9-1-1, the public safety industry has a system capable of accurately pinpointing a caller's location and providing responders with vital information about the surrounding area, such as the location of fire hydrants or the fastest route to someone in need. 

How Does GIS Work with Next Generation 911?

Next Generation 9-1-1 relies heavily on GIS because emergency response professionals need to know the caller's exact location in real-time. When a 9-1-1 call is made, GIS is used to pinpoint the caller's location and provide this information to the emergency response teams. 

The system also uses GIS data to identify the nearest responders, the best route to the emergency, and any hazards that may be present in the area.

How GIS Can Help Improve Emergency Response


Integrating geographic information systems in NG9-1-1 offers several benefits to public safety and emergency response services. One major advantage is improved accuracy in locating emergency callers, which can often be the difference between life and death. 

GIS also provides better situational awareness by providing real-time data on the location of first responders and other important information related to the emergency. This information can be shared between different agencies and departments involved in the response effort, improving coordination and response times.

Future Advancements in GIS for NG911

GIS is expected to become even more essential in the NG9-1-1 system as technology advances. One anticipated development is the integration of indoor location tracking, which will allow emergency responders to locate callers inside buildings and other structures. 

Additionally, GIS technology is expected to be used more extensively in predictive modeling, which can help identify areas at high risk of emergencies and enable proactive measures to be taken.

Challenges Facing GIS in NG911

While GIS has many benefits to the NG9-1-1 system, there are also some challenges that must be overcome. One major challenge is the need for more standardization in GIS data across different regions and jurisdictions. 

This can make it difficult for emergency response teams to share information and collaborate effectively during emergencies. Additionally, there is a need for ongoing investments in GIS infrastructure to ensure it remains up-to-date with the latest technology.

Fortunately, associations like NENA and other public safety organizations have been teaming up with government and infrastructure stakeholders to make technology like GIS the standard for emergency response. These organizations and decision-makers also work together to help secure funding for NG9-1-1 efforts nationwide. 


Geographic Information Systems play a crucial role in the NG9-1-1 system. It provides real-time location-based data that is essential for emergency response services to perform their duties effectively. The integration of GIS in NG9-1-1 has led to improved accuracy, resulting in better overall emergency response. 

The future of GIS in NG9-1-1 is bright and will continue to play an increasingly essential role in public safety and emergency response services.

Would you like to know more?

Connect with our trusted NG911 providers and experts at NGA today!