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NG9-1-1 GIS Strategic Planning

November 13, 2020

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. When we ask communities what it means for them to be ready for Next Generation 9-1-1, we frequently hear:

“We have Text-to-9-1-1”
“Our 9-1-1 system is IP-based”
“Our ALI matches our GIS at 98%”

These are elements of NG9-1-1 readiness, but none of them completely prepare you for NG9-1-1.

The Path to Next Generation 9-1-1 Runs Through Your GIS Data

An often-overlooked but critical step is preparing GIS data for deployment in a NG9-1-1 environment. Accurate, reliable, and consistent GIS data is required to route 9-1-1 calls and validate caller location, replacing the role filled by traditional MSAG and ALI. Telephone companies are no longer responsible for maintaining the new location information databases; GIS forms the backbone of NG9-1-1 with localities now responsible for maintaining GIS datasets used for routing calls and location validation.

NG9-1-1 expands the classic roles of public safety stakeholders (law, fire, EMS, and 9-1-1) to include government enterprises such as addressing authorities, GIS departments, and IT departments. This introduces new challenges in areas with separate policies, workflows, systems, and datasets. Challenges are compounded when there is a lack of understanding of what NG9-1-1 readiness requires. Now, more than ever, it is important to seek out trusted advisors with experience in:

Educating public safety and government organizations about the roles GIS plays in NG9-1-1

Building a solid foundation to plan for and successfully deploy GIS data for NG9-1-1

Identifying the requirements for NG9-1-1 GIS and gaps in NG9-1-1 GIS readiness

Creating an actionable plan to meet the requirements of GIS data in NG9-1-1

The path to successful implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 never follows a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes purposeful preparation and requires careful consideration of the specific needs, challenges, and resources of the government enterprises impacted by NG9-1-1.

Strategic Planning for Next Generation 9-1-1 GIS

DATAMARK’s Strategic Planning Services document the current state of public safety GIS data and workflows and provide future state recommendations for developing accurate, reliable GIS data for public safety applications. Strategic planning for NG9-1-1 GIS data includes a complete review of addressing and GIS data workflows and policies, necessary to develop a complete understanding of your GIS environment and create a plan for NG9-1-1 GIS data readiness.

Let’s look at addressing workflows, for example. Approved addresses should be entered into the GIS and public safety systems, including the ESInet, within three days. However, this is often not the case, requiring stakeholders to identify key phases of the entire addressing lifecycle:

  • When an address request is received
  • Who approved the address request and how it was approved
  • How it is addressed
  • When and how it is entered into and validated within the GIS data
  • When and how it is submitted into public safety systems
    (ESInet, 9-1-1 call handling, CAD, AVL, etc.)

Identifying and understanding critical elements of addressing and GIS workflows enables you to determine if you meet NG9-1-1 requirements following the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA) standards and best practices. This also highlights opportunities for you to streamline and optimize GIS and addressing workflows, improving GIS used across the government enterprise and not just for NG9-1-1.

Strategic Planning for NG9-1-1 reviews your GIS data workflows and identifies opportunities for GIS authorities to improve the accuracy, quality, and reliability of GIS datasets. A strategic plan for your GIS data prepares you confidently answer the question: “Are you ready for NG9-1-1?”

Understanding these components will identify whether the workflows and data meet the needs of NG9-1-1 as outlined in NENA’s Standards and Best Practices.  When identifying the needs and gaps within this addressing workflow, ultimately localities find that there are many other ways that streamlining the addressing and GIS data workflows will benefit the entire government enterprise and it becomes so much more than just NG9-1-1.  Sound strategic planning builds in efficiencies, optimizes current data and workflows, and overall identifies areas where the locality can get a bigger return on investment.