The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has embarked on a new initiative to assess the status of geographic information systems (GIS) within the 911 community, with a goal of defining what is required to achieve interoperable GIS data sharing nationwide.

The National 911 Program, housed within NHTSA, will lead this effort. Earlier this year, the NHTSA had published a solicitation for collaboration, and has since selected Mission Critical Partner (MCP), a public-safety technology vendor, for help. Both organizations will work together to study which states and local communities need additional help to achieve interoperable GIS data sharing nationwide.

Thousands of 911 centers in the U.S. have not deployed a nationally uniform, consistent GIS capability or mechanism for sharing GIS data. GIS data is a core element of the modernization initiative to move U.S. dial-in service for emergencies from legacy systems to Next Generation 911 (NG911). NG911 utilizes GIS data for 911 emergency call routing functions and location validation functions.

“Enhanced GIS data sharing will help the 911 community better serve citizens and improve emergency response outcomes. With many agencies still at an early stage of their NG911 journey, this report will help them move forward in a more systematic and accelerated manner,” Darrin Reilly, MCP’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release.

The final report will include:

  • The status of GIS: including technical GIS issues that the 911 community must address.
  • Assessment of required entities, issues, and partner agencies: The report will highlight governance, administrative, financial, and operational issues that must be addressed, including resources, budget, and organization needed to overcome the gaps.
  • Strategies and metrics: The report will identify metrics to determine the accuracy of GIS data. It also will present strategies for overcoming the challenges found throughout the assessment process.
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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.