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The Growing Role of GIS

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

As public safety moves closer to a nationwide Next-Generation 9-1-1 system, Geographic Information Systems will play an ever-increasing part.

By guest writer, Anthony Haddad, Sales Engineer, Intrado

The use of geographic information systems (GIS) is not new to public safety. It first came on the scene as an important tool with the introduction of wireless 9-1-1 service when location information could not be derived from a fixed service address. In today’s legacy architecture, geocoding or plotting X,Y coordinates is often used in conjunction with mapping applications to help dispatch responders to the correct location, but that has been the extent of its application.

Public safety agencies have been collecting GIS information for decades in order to populate the information found in selective routing database (SRDB), automatic location information (ALI) and master street address guides (MSAG). When an emergency call comes into a legacy GIS-equipped PSAP, associated addresses or X,Y coordinates are delivered as well, though the coordinates are meaningless on their own. In order to be valuable, this data must be plotted on a map in either the call-processing or computer-aided dispatch (CAD) environment. Once plotted, the information can be applied to perform dispatch functions. In this way, GIS is a supplemental tool used to verify location alone.


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