Enhanced Android Emergency Location Service For PSAPs is Closer to Reality

February 16, 2018

Andrea LeBron

enhanced emergency location service

Enhanced Android Emergency Location Service For PSAPs is Closer to Reality

Published on February 16, 2018

A recent RapidSOS study on enhanced emergency location service for PSAPs demonstrates the benefit of using Android smartphone mapping data to more precisely locate a 9-1-1 wireless caller.

Enhanced Emergency Location Service (ELS) is not a new concept, but a recent pilot study conducted by RapidSOS, is bringing to light the real possibility of connecting 9-1-1 centers to caller’s Android smartphone location data through its Next Generation 911 or NG911 Clearinghouse project. The pilot study involved granting 9-1-1 access to Android smartphone-sourced location data in three regions: Collier County, FL, Loudon County, TN, and North Central Texas Council of Governments, TX. Using technology such as Rave 911 suite to present this data to 9-1-1 telecommunicators, 47 PSAPs in these regions were able to receive incoming 9-1-1 calls and get more accurate location data.

Findings from the NG911 Clearinghouse Pilot Study

The top three findings from the study show that:
1. Location data was received faster and more precisely compared to traditional 9-1-1 ALI data feeds
2. Reliable delivery of enhanced Android location data to PSAP in multiple regions was successfully achieved
3. The enhanced location data supported response to a portion of the communities 9-1-1 calls, proving its benefits in real-life emergencies

9-1-1 Emergencies That Benefited from the Study

During the January 2018 pilot, these real 9-1-1 calls leveraged this new source of higher-quality location data to improve emergency response:

  • Incorrect Address: A women suffering from a traumatic injury, in a frantic, gave the wrong address to her location, but first responders were able to accurately locate her and provide medical attention.
  • Suicide Attempt: First responders were able to stop a suicide attempt by finding the caller’s location quickly.

Another potential use for NG911 Clearinghouse technology, when coupled with other available technology, is responding to abandoned 9-1-1 calls. When combined with such technologies, PSAPs can resolve dropped calls by either sending an SMS text message to the number to verify whether it’s an actual emergency or by using NG911 Clearinghouse capabilities to send help using accurate location data.

Why the Study was a Success

The success of the pilot study was attributed to two major factors. The enhanced data is calculated directly on the smartphone which can access technology not available to traditional ALI-sourced mobile location technologies; often times making ELS location data accessible at the moment the call is answered by the PSAP.
Secondly, in nearly 80% of the calls studied, the ELS data was available faster, and was more accurate, than the location data sourced via the ALI Phase 2 re-bid.

NG911 Clearinghouse uses IP-based delivery mechanisms. This high precision and low-latency location data is made possible by accessing hybrid location services available from the device itself. This device-based location can leverage a multitude of sensors, including WiFi Access Point fingerprinting, Pedestrian Dead Reckoning, Bluetooth Beacons, and many more, in addition to traditional mechanisms like GPS and cell tower triangulation. Therefore, NG911 Clearinghouse locations are significantly more accurate than the ALI, especially in indoor environments.

How PSAPs Can Prepare for Full NG911 Clearinghouse Implementation

While NG911 Clearinghouse data studied in this pilot is not yet commercially available, there are actions a PSAP can take now to gain access to ELS data from the moment it is broadly available.

PSAPs New to Enhanced Data and Communication Platforms

The NG911 Clearinghouse enhanced location data project will provide PSAPs access to higher-quality data to better respond to emergencies, once it becomes available. However, call centers will have to make sure they have the technology required to access this enhanced data. Integrating with multi-purpose data and communication’s platform as the Rave 911 Suite will provide PSAPs with a data-rich emergency response solution, of which enhanced location is just a part. Find out more about this easy way to enhance data and communication with a lightweight application that readily integrates with your current PSAP technology, and can be up and running in a matter of days.

PSAPS Already Connected to Enhanced Call Data Technology

PSAPs already connected to data-enhancing technology such as Rave 911 suite can sign up to get their systems connected to the NG911 Clearinghouse as soon as it becomes available to the masses. The connection requires no additional cost or technology upgrade, just a simple request to an approved RapidSOS integration partner.

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