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Five Steps to Get the Most Out of GIS in Your NG9-1-1 System

One critical component of the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems is a shift from the use of tabular Master Street Address Guide (MSAG) and ALI data to a reliance on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data for location identification, validation, and call delivery. For agencies that are ready to progress to a GIS-based NG9-1-1 system, the process can seem daunting. Fortunately, West has gained significant experience in helping agencies create and deploy GIS data through our methodical, no-nonsense approach. This process has proven to reduce complexity and the risks associated with this substantial shift in 9-1-1 systems.

We have identified five distinct phases that will guide PSAPs through the process:


During the Assessment phase, it is imperative to gain a full understanding of the current state of GIS data within your jurisdiction. A thorough evaluation of your GIS data is required in order to achieve compliance with the evolving NENA NG9-1-1 GIS data model. After this “data audit” has taken place you will be able to identify gaps between your Legacy data and NG 9-1-1 data. West has a long history of performing this analysis for PSAPs of all types so when the assessment is complete, we will provide your agency with a comprehensive report that includes specific recommendations for implementing GIS data within your NG9-1-1 system.


The Planning phase entails developing the best strategy for your agency. This includes determining the appropriate documentation needed to outline processes as well asdentifying and evaluating the various funding sources that may be available to your agency, and the associated time frames to apply for and receive funding.


After the Assessment and Planning stages have been completed, the next step is to source local data and incorporate appropriate data from other county and state agencies and commercial sources. This ensures that the data within the NG9-1-1 system is as robust and complete as possible and provides enhanced situational awareness and improved emergency response. A critical step in this phase is to develop any process needed to collect and verify new addresses as data changes frequently.


Perhaps one of the most important steps in the process of moving to an NG9-1-1 system is to audit the newly developed GIS database to evaluate readiness for use in the NG9-1-1 environment. This includes comparing the newly collected GIS data to MSAG and ALI data to identify discrepancies, and then validate the data to ensure a minimum of 98% match rate per NENA i3 specification.


The final step is the implementation phase where the most efficient rollout actions are determined and coordinated with your 9-1-1 service provider. In this stage, communication regarding project status with stakeholders is of critical importance so that everyone involved is well informed. Lastly, you will want to create a data maintenance plan that takes into account the frequent data changes that will occur and outlines the processes of how the changes in GIS data will be incorporated into your NG9-1-1 system efficiently.

To learn more about the role of GIS within NG9-1-1, download a free copy of NG9-1-1: The Essential Guide for GIS. The guide focuses on the role of GIS within NG9-1-1 and defines GIS-related functional elements, describes how to successfully transition from tabular 9-1-1 data management to 9-1-1 GIS data management, and presents various fundamental considerations that should be taken into account as you plan your transition strategy.

If you’re at NENA 2017 in San Antonio next week, stop by to see our GIS field and operations experts in booth #411. We’ll meet you there – at the intersection of GIS and Public Safety!

As Sr. Product Manager for West’s suite of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) products, Pete White is dedicated to developing and providing geospatial technology solutions that enhance the use of GIS-based data for location accuracy within emergency communications. He is a GISP-certified product manager and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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