Fall 2010

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Update
Spring Workshop Report

Draft Stormwater Data Standard
LiDAR Update

Lyon Co Sign Inventory
Anoka Co Website
LOGIS Map Books Use USNG
Goodhue ESRI Award

US Topo now for MN

Higher Education
UMD GIS Minor & Certificate
UWRF GIS Certificate

Prepare for NG911

In Memory: Carrie Bartz

Other Places
Wisconsin Strategic Plans
Strategic Directions for Geography
Where are Americans Moving?



Transitioning to Next Generation 9-1-1
By Nate Ekdahl, GeoComm

GIS data will play a larger role in the nation’s public safety system as jurisdictions adopt Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1).  GIS will be essential for call routing, call handling, call delivery, location validation, and emergency response. Since NG9-1-1 is driven by GIS data, accurate 9-1-1 base maps are needed for successful 9-1-1 emergency events.

A major premise of NG9-1-1 is connecting 9-1-1 communications centers via an emergency services Internet (ESInet).  In this network, GIS data has an expanded role based on the spatial, geographic routing that will happen in the network.  Currently, GIS data for 9-1-1 is used to locate the address of an incident after a call has reached a 9-1-1 center, and the routing process is handled within a tabular database not by geography.  In an ESInet, however, GIS data will manage where the 9-1-1 call is routed, in other words, identifying which Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) will receive the call based on geography.   

Preparing map data for NG9-1-1 is a time-consuming process so it is important to start now.  As agencies transition from their current E9-1-1 system to NG9-1-1 systems it is important to review the basic requirements for GIS data use in the NG9-1-1 environment.  Updating GIS data to be suitable for NG9-1-1 call routing is the responsibility of individual jurisdictions, so understanding the new requirements for GIS data structure, additional layers, and the fields is critical.

Since GIS data is used to validate addresses, route calls to the correct PSAP, and locate callers in a NG9-1-1 system, it means that the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) will eventually be a thing of the past.  Today, agencies can start preparing by analyzing the accuracy and synchronization of their GIS data to their current MSAG and Automatic Location Information (ALI) database.  A match rate at or around 98 percent is recommended in order to ensure accurate location validation and call routing.  This will help transition your agency from relying on the MSAG to relying confidently on the GIS data.  Understanding how to conduct this analysis and update your data can be overwhelming, but it is a good starting point for NG9-1-1 readiness.

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) believes that agencies should start today due to the importance of this process.  They have issued an informational document, Synchronizing GIS with MSAG and ALI (#71-501), that provides guidelines for GIS, MSAG, and ALI database synchronization.  The document, created by a NENA workgroup that included one of GeoComm’s GIS consultants, can help you throughout the analysis and updating process.

For more information on steps jurisdictions need to complete to prepare GIS data for the NG9-1-1 environment, including links to articles and case studies, see GeoComm’s NG9-1-1 Ready webpage.