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911 Connects

National 911 Program Updates: GIS, CAD and DataPath Projects

Published Jun 2022

A variety of projects are underway to fulfill the Program’s efforts to provide federal coordination and leadership to optimize 911 services across the country.

Nationwide CAD Assessment Project
There is little uniformity in computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems in Emergency Communications Centers (ECC) across the nation, posing challenges to transferring 911 calls and relevant data like caller location, as well as providing first responders with important call information through public safety broadband networks such as First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). This acts as an impedance to the implementation of Next Generation 911 (NG911) technology.

This assessment will help analyze and understand differences in CAD systems across the U.S. and summarize their current statuses, including challenges that hinder implementing a nationwide CAD data-sharing capability. The resulting report summary will highlight the benefits of a single, nationwide system of systems.

Topics to be covered include the following:

  • Relevant technologies and technological issues

  • Governance, administrative, and technological issues that all entities must address, including private-sector companies, national CAD organizations, and standards-development organizations

  • Required budget, resources, and partner agencies and ideas for how to leverage them

  • Metrics and requirements identifying the value and accuracy of 911 CAD data


Current Actions: In January, an ECC CAD Practitioner’s symposium was held. Following discussions on challenges impeding establishing CAD interoperability between ECCs, materials are in development to address this issue.

GIS Assessment Project
Similar to the CAD assessment project, the geographic information systems (GIS) project will collate information from 911 community stakeholders about the current state of GIS. The report will use this information to identify findings regarding the challenges and benefits of achieving GIS uniformity across jurisdictions . It will also address any barriers to facilitating the nationwide transition to NG911 by assessing which partner agencies and resources are required to address these barriers. Lastly, the GIS effort will develop strategies to address the identified barriers and use metrics to monitor progress.

Current Actions: In early February, a group of GIS stakeholders gathered to discuss the challenges ECCs face in sharing GIS data. This group included public safety answering point (PSAP) professionals, GIS industry associations, and GIS solution providers.

Developed by the subject matter experts mentioned above, reports describing the following topics are to be released in 2022 on 911.gov:

  • Current Status of GIS Technologies Supporting 911

  • Current Status of Required Entities for 911 GIS

  • Resources, Budget and Partnerships

  • Scientific Research Requirements and Metrics

  • The NHTSA 911 Program GIS Strategic Plan


Individuals in the 911 community are encouraged to provide feedback on these reports by emailing nhtsa.national911@dot.gov.

911 DataPath Project
If the nation’s 911 systems are to be interoperable, critical information could help 911 community leaders with operational improvements, governance decisions, and developing strategic planning. Even though 911 data is collected on a regular basis, a consolidated data-sharing system could address the issues associated with comparing non-standardized data from different states.

To pursue a unified 911 system, the 911 DataPath Strategic Plan was created to outline the ideal characteristics of the future 911 environment. The following strategic goals serve as a roadmap for this vision:
1.   Data Uniformity
2.   Automated Data Handling
3.   Role-Based Information Sharing
4.   Sustainable Vital Support Mechanisms
5.   Data Savvy 911 Professionals

What’s Happening Now: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in November 2021 the initiation of a pilot project to develop the first 911 data-sharing model for local, state, and regional levels. This is the next step toward establishing a true national 911 data system, which will be scalable and owner-agnostic. The routine sharing of 911 data will provide actionable knowledge to improve emergency response outcomes.

For more information or questions on any of these projects, please contact nhtsa.national911@dot.gov.