NG911 Data Model: Getting GIS Data Ready for Next Generation 911

Posted in NGA911 on Jun 09, 2022

NG911 Data Model: Getting GIS Data Ready for Next Generation 911

NENA (The National Emergency Number Association) evaluates that 240 million 911 calls are made in America each year, with over 80 percent coming from smartphones and other wireless devices. Given this information, updating the 911 infrastructure with more innovative and precise geographic location technology was a need recognized in 2000 that led to the development of NG9-1-1. 

Emergency response telecommunications systems like NG911 (Next Generation 911) can not be truly successful without accurate geographic location technology. The transfer of GIS data is crucial for public safety organizations switching to NG911 because GIS information is used regularly for several NG911 core services.  

In this blog from our NG911 providers and experts at NGA, we will cover:

  • What GIS and GIS data are
  • How GIS data is used in the NG911 data model
  • The goal of Next Generation 911
  • Preparing GIS data for NG911
  • Getting GIS data NG911 ready

What are GIS and GIS Data?

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. To put it simply, a GIS is a geospatial system that creates, evaluates, manages, and maps several types of data. 

The GIS connects its data to a map, merging location information (where the 911 caller is) with descriptive information. GIS data provides a foundation for digital mapping and evaluation that is used to locate the emergency caller and chart the surrounding area. 

GIS data and technology allow users, such as PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) and other public safety agencies to better understand the geographic context. Using geographic information systems for NG911 includes improved communication between emergency call centers, 911 callers, and first responders. 

Other significant benefits include greater emergency response efficiency and better decision-making, which can often result in more lives saved. 

How is GIS Data Used in the NG911 Data Model? 

The NG911 infrastructure was designed to support wireless communications and provide citizens in need with immediate access to PSAPs and overall faster emergency response. Next Generation 911 enables emergency calls to be mapped by exact coordinates or addresses, and the GIS data validates this information, thus routing 911 calls to the correct PSAP. 

GIS data is used in two primary functions of Next Generation 911 core services:

  1. 911 call routing: The emergency call routing function determines which 911 call center to route the caller using GIS data geospatially. 911 call routing using GIS data and technology can also support real-time texting, voice messaging, and photo and video streaming to public safety organizations. 
  2. Emergency caller location validation: The 911 caller location validation function identifies the location of an address (street names and home numbers). GIS data is used with the location validation function to validate accurate emergency caller locations. 

With the Next Generation 911 infrastructure, NG911 GIS data is validated against the landline or wireless device the emergency caller is calling from before the call is placed. This NG911 GIS data validation protocol is critical for routing the 911 call accurately to the closest possible PSAP for faster emergency response. 

Therefore, preparing and getting GIS data for NG911 by public safety agencies is vital for protecting communities and saving lives. 

The Goal of Next Generation 911 

The purpose of NG911 is for citizens in need to communicate and transfer information with 911 via instant multimedia sharing. The Next Generation 911 system makes faster, more streamlined communication between PSAPs and citizens possible by running on IP (Internet Protocol), cloud-based networks.  

Examples of multimedia supported by NG 911 include real-time:

  • Text Messaging 
  • Voice Messaging 
  • Voice-to-text Messaging 
  • Video Calling 
  • Video Streaming 
  • Photo Streaming 

The transition of NG911 is ongoing, and nationwide implementation is currently underway in many states, including California, Texas, Arizona, Montana, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, and Illinois. 

Preparing GIS Data Use for NG911

To better ensure the seamless flow of emergency response systems and information, NENA has been working with Next Generation 911 for years to develop an NG911 data model that will serve as the standard for GIS data used. 

The NENA standard for the NG911 GIS data model is a document for PSAPs and other emergency call centers to follow when preparing their GIS data for the transition to Next Generation 911. The model states how public safety organizations should prepare their address and road GIS data model layers for preparation.

The NENA standard for the NG911 GIS data model also specifies how the different fields should be named, what data belongs in each field, the field type, and field width. 

To better prepare, NGA suggests that 911 agencies ask themselves the following questions: 

  • Who will use the GIS data?
  • How will the GIS data get ready for NG911?
  • Where will the GIS data be maintained?
  • What does each GIS data model field mean?
  • What should each GIS data model table contain? 

Getting GIS Data Next Generation 911 Ready 

NENA standards should be followed to guarantee a more streamlined process for adding new fields and GIS information to the NG911 data model. Making sure all changes to the database are thoroughly compressed and analyzed once the data model is finished running will help lead to a smooth GIS data transition process. 

When your PSAP is ready to share its GIS data with other 911 agencies, let the other organizations know about the added information in each data model field. Since current fields will be replaced with fields following NENA standards, the 911 agencies will need to know which fields contain the GIS data they rely on. 

Conclusion 

It is exciting to be a 911 professional in an evolving digital world. The switch from E911 to NG911 places significant importance on GIS data technology and symbolizes a revolutionary shift in the public safety industry. 

With Next Generation 911 implementation currently underway nationwide, it is more essential than ever to prepare your GIS data for NG911 data model transition. 

Are you looking to know more about NG911 GIS data and technology? 

Connect with our trusted Next Generation 911 providers and experts at NGA today