Chances are you or someone you know has used 9-1-1 in a life-threatening situation. It has happened in my family. All ended well because of an incredible number of caring people who are really good at their jobs. I got to meet some of them and am forever grateful for them. However, I will never meet the person who was there at the beginning of the call, the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Until I started working on 911 GIS data projects, I never gave the technology behind this system a second thought. Many times someone is able to give the location of the incident or person in distress. But what if something goes wrong during the phone call? Would the dispatcher have the tools to determine the person’s location when calling from a cell phone and quickly send the appropriate services? If a person is able to text but not speak would she be able to do so? This is a portion of what Next Generation 911 (NG9-1-1) can do for us.
Past, Present, and Future
According to the October 2018 Next Generation 911 Cost Estimate Report to Congress, the first call to 911 was made in 1968 and over 250 million calls were taken by 911 centers nation-wide in 2016. A lot has changed in telecommunications in that time frame, but unfortunately as a country we have not made it a priority to upgrade our 911 systems accordingly, until now.
Below is a snapshot of the progress states are making towards implementing NG9-1-1.
So much goes into transitioning a 911 system to NG911, from changing state policies to buying appropriate equipment to updating GIS data. This upgrade comes with a large price tag. There are a lot of variables and scenarios that costs were calculated for in the report to Congress, but we’re talking in the ballpark of $14 billion dollars nation-wide. Available funding varies widely by state, but generally first became available for call-taking equipment and is now starting to become available for GIS projects. Below are some of the funding opportunities available in Illinois and Iowa to help organizations prepare their GIS data for NG911.
Illinois Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator just released the Notice of Funding Opportunity for FY20. In addition to funding for Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) consolidation and call handling equipment, there is $3.4 million dollars available for funding GIS projects. According to the Notice, the following is eligible:
GIS Projects that support creation, quality control and updates of the required GIS data layers in preparation for NG9-1-1 readiness by July 1, 2020. The required data layers, as defined in the Illinois NG9-1-1 GIS Data Standards, include road centerlines, address points, PSAP boundary, emergency service boundary and provisioning boundary layers. Strongly Recommended and Recommended layers as defined the Illinois NG9-1-1 GIS Data Standards are encouraged to be part of your project proposal.
Grant forms and more information can be found here.
Iowa’s 911 Program FY19 GIS grants are incentive based. PSAP’s are required to upload their GIS data twice a year and are awarded grant money for data that meets minimum match/accuracy rates. The upload periods are July through December and January through June. Data can be uploaded multiple times within each period and an accuracy report is provided once each upload has been reviewed. Once the data meets the minimum requirements, the PSAP will receive $6,000 once per upload period.
Instructions for applying for a 911 grant in Iowa are available here.
Other Funding Opportunities
We will keep you updated on additional funding opportunities as they become available.
NG9-1-1 GIS Data Audit
You might be thinking, “That’s great, but where do I start?”. Do you know what it will take to get your data up to the required standards? Do you need help determining the current state of your data? Cloudpoint offers an NG9-1-1 Data Audit service. This valuable service is intended to give your organization a complete picture of where your GIS data stands today with relation to the current standards and to give you a road map and cost estimate for meeting those standards in the future. You can contact us with questions or simply fill out the NG9-1-1 GIS Data Audit Request form to receive a free quote for this service.