The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Mission Critical Partners (MCP) will collaborate to assess the current status of geographic information systems (GIS) within the 911 community. The goal of the initiative is to define what is required to achieve interoperable GIS data sharing nationwide. NHTSA selected MCP following a full and open solicitation and comprehensive evaluation of all proposals. The National 911 Program, housed within NHTSA, will lead this important effort.
Thousands of 911 centers in the U.S. have not deployed a nationally uniform, consistent GIS capability or mechanism for sharing GIS data. GIS is an essential element of a truly interoperable, interconnected national Next Generation 911 (NG911) system. In 2019, the “National NG911 Roadmap,” a report published by the National 911 Program, and supported by MCP, highlighted GIS as a significant barrier to achieving a nationwide “system of systems.” The report emphasized the need to develop standards, requirements, and best practices for sharing GIS data. Later in 2019, the program published the “Strategic Plan for 911 Data and Information Sharing,” which also underscored the need for GIS data uniformity.
Critical elements of the National 911 Program/MCP final report will include:
- Current status of GIS — As 911 centers deploy NG911 and transfer calls across jurisdictions, the lack of GIS consistency poses significant problems. Many technical and non-technical challenges are associated with how GIS data is developed, processed, shared, and stored among 911 entities. This report will identify the technical issues that the community must address.
- Assessment of required entities, issues, and partner agencies — Governance, administrative, financial, and operational issues will be addressed, including resources, budget, and organizations needed to overcome the gaps.
- Strategies and metrics — The report will identify metrics to determine the accuracy of GIS data. It also will present strategies for overcoming the challenges found throughout the assessment process.
“We are honored to support the National 911 Program in its efforts to guide 911 centers across the country with NG911 implementation,” said Darrin Reilly, MCP’s president and chief executive officer. “Enhanced GIS data sharing will help the 911 community better serve citizens and improve emergency response outcomes. With many agencies still at an early stage of their NG911 journey, this report will help them move forward in a more systematic and accelerated manner.”
“Over the last 4-1/2 years, we have been fortunate to work closely with the National 911 Program on several important initiatives,” Reilly said. “This enabled the program to witness firsthand MCP’s unmatched expertise regarding 911 technologies, operations, and governance, which contributed to these awards.”
The National 911 Program is responsible for improving coordination and communication among federal, state, and local 911 centers, personnel, and telecommunications carriers and vendors. One of the program’s primary objectives is to develop and share resources concerning the technology used in providing 911 services.