Why NG9-1-1 Requires Addressing Beyond the 98

June 7, 2018

Addressing data is not static. Unlike, say, a trusted recipe that is passed down from generation to generation, maps on locations in any community may change dramatically over time. New buildings are built. New streets are added. Old buildings are razed. Tornadoes, floods, fires, hurricanes or lava flows might decimate roads, bridges or entire neighborhoods.

So, it’s not surprising that the data upon which geographic information systems (GIS) are built are unlikely to ever achieve 100 percent accuracy. But while for the purposes of current generations of 9-1-1 systems a 98 percent accuracy rate is far better than good, for the next generation 9-1-1 (NG911), 98 percent isn’t quite good enough.

NG9-1-1 includes multiple standards around minimum data quality requirements for GIS data being provisioned into the Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet). While many vendors in the public safety space say hitting 98 percent accuracy with GIS addressing data is good enough, that’s actually not true.

Public safety systems that do not synchronize their data beyond the 98 percent accuracy will face boundary gaps and other issues that potentially will negatively affect call routing — perhaps even misdirecting a call.

The current standards for 9-1-1 were written in 2009, so it’s time for updating. The NG9-1-1 Data Stewardship standard is now being written, however it likely will not available before the end of 2018. The result is there are no standard operating procedures for how to meet the requirements that NENA has laid out for NG911. Additionally, the 98 percent figure does not address requirements for the other PSAP systems used. Therefore, exceeding the 98 percent accuracy levels that are adequate today will allow public safety organizations to support all PSAP systems moving forward.

The ESInet standards require that the source GIS data must meet certain criteria:

  • It cannot contain unintended gaps and overlaps between service boundaries (PSAP and Emergency Services Boundaries).
  • It must check for unintended discrepancies between address-ranged road centerline layers and corresponding site/structure address points or polygons.
  • It must be capable of validating GIS feature attributes against the required data model to ensure the minimum essential data values are present.

Another set of standards apply to addresses, particularly the importance of synchronizing the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) and Automatic Location Information (ALI) tabular databases with the GIS data to a 98% match rate. In truth, there is no single metric that can confirm the accuracy of the data, but with the right tools, it is possible to create the following:

  • Quality GIS data layers that support the Next Generation Core Services (NGCS) and other 9-1-1 systems (CAD, CAD Mapping, AVL, Call Taking, and others).
  • Logical steps that reduce the time to analyze and reconcile GIS data issues.

There are a variety of steps involved in cleaning GIS data so it can be used with NG9-1-1 systems. We will discuss those steps in other collateral available on our website. Once the data is clean, the next step is understanding whether the data now meets or exceeds 98% GIS data match rate.

  • Who are all the GIS data providers that will support data needs for the PSAP?
  • Is the location data synchronized (addresses and roads) with one another rather than just the MSAG and ALI?
  • Can the other 9-1-1 systems in the network accept updates of this source data in near real-time fashion similar to the NGCS?
  • Will the GIS solution in use support the data needs of all the 9-1-1 systems used?
  • Has a data maintenance workflow and policy been set both inter-agency and with neighboring PSAPs?

Those who are unable to answer the questions likely have GIS data that is not yet ready for NG9-1-1, which means they have not yet achieved a 98+ percent level of GIS data accuracy. To learn more about how DATAMARK can help with both technologies and consulting services, contact us.

By: Stephanie McCowat

Areas of Focus: