How to Choose an NG9-1-1 GIS Data Partner

June 19, 2019

For most organizations, building and maintaining geographic information systems (GIS) datasets for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) likely will involve the help of a trusted partner. NENA’s NG9-1-1 GIS data standards are rigid and have technical requirements that are more stringent than previously needed, which can be overwhelming for those not familiar with them. The right partner can provide cross-disciplinary expertise in public safety and GIS along with services and solutions that help guide the NG9-1-1 transition from start to finish.

When evaluating NG9-1-1 GIS data partners, here are three things to keep in mind:

1. Domain Expertise

Choosing a GIS data partner with domain expertise in GIS and public safety will simplify and accelerate the transition to NG9-1-1. The partner should understand both public safety business processes and their implications on the technical GIS requirements of NG9-1-1 to maximize the investment, ensuring a successful transition.

DATAMARK’s geographically dispersed technical experts have years of collective experience working in public safety and GIS roles in communities across the U.S. and are trusted advisors in the 9-1-1 community, helping to shape the future of 9-1-1 through participation in technical, operational and legislative working groups. With this broad experience, DATAMARK is prepared to guide its clients through NG9-1-1 strategic planning, assist with securing grant funding and make recommendations on procuring services and solutions.

2. Service Offerings

Data accuracy and completeness help ensure NG9-1-1 readiness but getting to this stage isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. A dedicated GIS data partner specializing in NG9-1-1 will work with clients to fully understand the specific jurisdictional needs and craft the most efficient path to NG9-1-1 readiness.

At DATAMARK, that all starts with a detailed assessment, which we call The DATAMARK Quality Assurance Plan (QAP). Phase one of the QAP assesses the three dimensions of data quality in NG9-1-1 GIS data preparation: accuracy, completeness and coordination. The results of the assessments are compiled into purposeful identification of gaps with recommended steps to remediate issues, along with a breakdown of relevant standards and recommendations for a successful implementation.

3. Solutions

While most GIS data partners offer a solution that aggregates, prepares and maintains NG9-1-1 GIS data, not all offer the complete and critical technical features that make the solution truly viable in the NG9-1-1 environment. Solutions that require existing GIS software licenses and operate in a desktop environment may result in disjointed, onerous workflows and can lead to overspending and higher maintenance fees. Additionally, some solutions produce validation outputs for use in a GIS system that can be difficult to interpret and challenging to consistently keep updated for progress-tracking and building of confidence in the GIS data accuracy and completeness over time.

DATAMARK VEP (Validate-Edit-Provision) is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) -based platform that expedites workflows and eases the collection, preparation and maintenance of GIS data for all 9-1-1 systems. The fully configurable and scalable solution was designed and built for GIS data providers, addressing authorities and 9-1-1 authorities whether they have advanced or base-level technical expertise. DATAMARK VEP ensures readiness before and after the transition to NG9-1-1 while reducing costs and increasing flexibility for public safety organizations. And, unlike other vendors, DATAMARK VEP does not require any additional hardware or software.

GIS is not an inherent technology supported by a 9-1-1 authority. Therefore, it is critical to engage with a GIS data partner that can design and execute a plan that achieves gold-standard end-state data.

For more accurate emergency response in life-critical situations, DATAMARK’s expertise, services and solutions facilitate the highest levels of public safety GIS data integrity, exceeding the standards of NG9-1-1. Contact us to learn more about partnering with DATAMARK for your NG9-1-1 GIS data needs.

By: Stephanie McCowat

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