GIS staffer serves on national addressing task force

A senior NKAPC staff member is part of the National Emergency Numbering Association’s (NENA) workgroup charged with recommending a protocol for placing address points used in Next Generation 9-1-1 systems (NG911). As the name suggests, these systems are involved with emergency calls and the local services that respond to them.

Senior GIS Specialist Tom East, GISP, learned about the opportunity to serve at an addressing conference last year in Memphis.  He recognized immediately the importance of contributing to the recommendations. According to East, “There are important changes coming to the world of emergency dispatching and NG911 is driving many of the improvements in how emergency calls will be handled and services dispatched in the future.”

NG911 will improve the way emergency calls are sent to dispatch centers by determining which center should receive the call even before it is answered. Accomplishing this requires the creation of accurate GIS data ahead of time.  Highly accurate address locations and dispatch service boundaries will facilitate use of a digital “push-pin” map on which the caller’s location is determined so the correct dispatch center is identified before a call reaches the dispatcher. This instantaneous determination improves response time potentially eliminating the need to transfer calls between dispatch centers as often happens now with cell phone calls.

Over the past few years, NKAPC staff has created and updated a digital map of address points used by its partners in the LINK-GIS system including dispatch centers in Kenton, Campbell, and Pendleton Counties. The many situations encountered in creating this address database are encountered in communities across the nation. Likewise, the problems encountered elsewhere are often found locally.

As East puts it, “Participating in this NENA workgroup allows us to contribute to, and learn from other communities in establishing a protocol for placing address points. It’s a valuable opportunity, especially in light of current developments with local dispatch services.”