GIS Data Assessment – Laying a Foundation for Success
Data about our location is everywhere. We live in a world of data. When answering a 9-1-1 call, access to accurate and up–to–date map data is critical because seconds count.
How accurate is the public safety map data in your community? Does your call taker, dispatcher, and first responder have the necessary data during those critical seconds? These are important questions GIS and 9-1-1 teams need to answer. As public safety is transitioning to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1), quality GIS data is essential to ensure 9-1-1 calls route to the correct Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and responders arrive at the correct location. To determine if your GIS data is up to this task, a GIS data assessment is the common approach to providing the answers that you need to enhance your current 9-1-1 system and prepare for NG9-1-1.
Where to start
Assessment is the first step to determine if your data meets your community’s needs. It involves more than just analyzing GIS, Master Street Address Guide (MSAG), or Automatic Location Identification (ALI) databases. Education and development of local 9-1-1 data standards and maintenance workflows also play an integral role in the assessment process. Collaboration between your GIS and 9-1-1 professionals is more critical than ever before, as these teams work together to meet the NG9-1-1 GIS data quality needs of their 911 systems. Many agencies find advantages to having an outside assessment completed to streamline this process while being sensitive to interdepartmental goals. Common requirements of a GIS data assessment include:
All public safety and GIS personnel involved will need to exercise collaboration, strong communication, and working knowledge of public safety 9-1-1 needs as well as NG9-1-1 requirements to successfully prepare the GIS data.
Local standards development processes should include definitions of GIS data layers, data models, and processes and benchmarks for synchronization and accuracy as well as consideration of the NENA GIS data model and local application requirements.
GIS data review and analysis
The analysis process and results will become the starting point for developing a plan for updating GIS data to be used for public safety today as well as your NG9-1-1 system success. The assessment process should also open stakeholder dialog about future data and system maintenance and management.