August 19, 2021

Public Safety Grade GIS Data is the Foundation of Public Safety Location Intelligence® 

With Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data playing a key role across E9-1-1, NG9-1-1, ECC and responder tactical mapping systems and applications, and now indoor and vertical 9-1-1 caller location, it has become an imperative for 9-1-1 to implement Public Safety Grade GIS data. These mission critical life safety systems and applications rely on GIS data to drive emergency response – helping to save lives and protect property. This GIS data must be highly accurate, highly secure, highly available, up-to-date, and commonly accessible to all mission critical life safety applications across 9-1-1 and public safety organizations. 

Standardized Public Safety Grade GIS data delivered to 9-1-1 and public safety systems across your organization is the foundational component of providing Public Safety Location Intelligence and enables the greatest degree of success in routing 9-1-1 calls, locating emergency incidents, and dispatching responders to the scene. 

While the 9-1-1 industry is aware of the mission critical role of GIS in NG9-1-1, new pressures, requirements, and urgency for achieving standardized Public Safety Grade GIS data are emerging as our world increasingly becomes data driven. Today, 9-1-1 and public safety entities are facing more and more challenges related to the explosion of multiple geospatial datasets copied to many applications, users, and locations across the 9-1-1 and public safety enterprise.

“We frequently work with customers on their goal of achieving current, consistent, and validated GIS data and discuss how this is a foundational step to realizing the full potential of a 9-1-1 system when it is powered by Public Safety Grade GIS. Ultimately, utilizing Public Safety Grade GIS data as this foundation for Public Safety Location Intelligence also benefits 9-1-1 and GIS teams who often support multiple demands and requirements as well as utilization of different applications.”

Erik Loberg, GeoComm Vice President of Public Safety GIS Applications
Make GIS Part of the Public Safety Grade Conversation   

In the publication, Defining Public Safety Grade Systems and Facilities Public Safety Communications Report, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) describes Public Safety Grade as a conceptual term referring to the expectation of the 9-1-1 and emergency response industries that equipment and systems have been designed with security, reliability, resiliency, redundancy, and diversity in mind. There is also the expectation that equipment and systems must remain fully operational during regular daily operations along with major natural or manmade disasters on a local, regional, and even nationwide basis. GIS must be part of this conversation and must meet the same expectations.  

In the public safety industry, GIS is defined as a system designed to

  • GeoComm data fragmentation


  • Store

  • Display

  • Analyze

  • Manage

data for the purposes of public safety and 9-1-1 emergency response. Therefore, any GIS solutions utilized for the purposes of emergency response should be expected to be accurate, secure, reliable, resilient, redundant, and diverse to remain operational in any emergency.

GIS often serves many needs across a state and local government enterprise, many of which are not mission critical or life safety-related such as planning and zoning, tax and cadastral mapping, and natural resources mapping and monitoring. As a result, local GIS systems have emerged to meet the requirements of those non-Public Safety Grade applications. Those systems are then often utilized to provide data to public safety applications without first being analyzed and if necessary, strengthened to meet Public Safety Grade requirements. The outcome is often a proliferation of copied file-based GIS data, such as shapefiles and geodatabases, unprotected and unsecure, that are widely dispersed across an organization. In the worst-case scenarios, 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers, and responders are all looking at different map versions, out-of-date maps, or no maps at all when they need them. Public Safety Grade GIS data works to solve these problems and provides the geospatial truth that all 9-1-1 and public safety users across an enterprise can rely on when life is on the line.

Public Safety Grade GIS Data Transforms Emergency Communications and Response

Public Safety Grade GIS solutions supply quality, highly secure, highly available, and accessible data to the end user and can have tremendous impact on improving response times, providing actionable location intelligence, and routing 9-1-1 calls.

There are also major benefits for the ECC and responders. Supplying GIS data to E9-1-1, NG9-1-1, ECC, and responder tactical mapping systems and applications that has been scrutinized for quality and useable during every 9-1-1 emergency response.

“While standards and best practices exist to provide guidance to 9-1-1 and GIS teams, GIS has not traditionally been described as Public Safety Grade, and it really should be.” Loberg explains. “Think about it like this, GIS data that has been assessed, improved, and maintained specifically with public safety in mind can then be shared by 9-1-1 telecommunicators, first responders, and all users within a jurisdiction to ensure the highest level of accuracy in locating incidents and dispatching of resources.”

Saving Seconds and Saving Lives 

Further, the 9-1-1 caller has become accustomed to the use of modern technologies and expects that 9-1-1 has access to similar modern advancements to know exactly where they are calling from, operate reliable systems and communications, and send help quickly.

“This is something that we really focus on at GeoComm when working with public safety and GIS teams to achieve Public Safety Grade GIS data as well as providing solutions that make the workflow as simple as possible and save time,” Loberg explains. “We want to see 9-1-1 and GIS teams meet those 9-1-1 caller expectations and have added value in their GIS data – it’s definitely viewed as a partnership to make this happen. By working together to achieve Public Safety Grade GIS data – we know seconds and lives will be saved.”

With the largest team of focused GIS specialists in the nation and an integrated suite of GIS tools built on a cloud-native platform, GeoComm is the leader in providing Public Safety Location Intelligence, and ready to help jurisdictions achieve the same Public Safety Grade GIS data across all CAD, 9-1-1 mapping, and NG9-1-1 systems. GeoComm’s platform makes it easy to support data validation, merging, provisioning, and application-specific map packages within a single solution assess, publish and package the data. How can GeoComm help ensure your GIS systems are ready for the challenges they face? Contact us today.

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Why Public Safety Location Intelligence®?

There is more data available than ever before and it just keeps growing.  Public Safety Location Intelligence® from GeoComm provides a new way to get the right location information, on the right map, for the right people, at the right time, in order to respond to emergency calls faster.

See Public Safety Location Intelligence® in Action >