Where’s The Emergency?
In West Virginia, state and local government authorities are working in conjunction with private firms to develop an emergency 911 system that can pinpoint the location of callers even if they are unable to speak English, fall unconscious, or have to hang up the phone abruptly.
The West Virginia Statewide Addressing and Mapping Board is working to provide addresses for rural areas and other locations that can be tied to phone numbers and services to improve the ability of dispatchers sending ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency responders.
Using geospatial information technology, maps will be created showing exact locations of callers by a given number and street name attached to the caller’s phone number. Wireless calls will have to be integrated into the system as cell phone carriers upgrade their antenna networks to pinpoint callers within 50 to 300 meters, using Global Positioning System receivers in cell phone handsets.
With the help of BAE Systems and microData GIS Inc., the state has developed a digital map that counties can update with the latest information, and the maps include topographical information as well, which is being verified by contractors and surveyors.
Officials are hopeful that the project will not only improve emergency response times and accuracy but also improve disaster recovery planning, floodplain mapping, security, evacuation routing, counter terrorism efforts, crime analysis, and other activities.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from GeoWorld (07/05) Vol. 18, No. 7, P. 34; Nedig, Craig; Seppi, Joseph R.